top of page

Seeing the Rainbows Reflected in their Eyes

Archive family photographs 

‘A new type of historian emerges who, unlike h[er] precursors, is ready to confess the intimate relations [s]he maintains to h[er] subject. Better still, [s]he is ready to proclaim it, deepen it, make of it not the obstacle but the means of h[er] understanding’. (Nora, 1989, p. 18)

Turning to my own family photographic repository in a way I have never done before, I acknowledged that these images referred to the past whilst simultaneously referring to a future of knowledge. Part of this nostalgic gaze instigated the need to consider what was beyond and to experience a sense of joy at knowing and being. I wondered if I turned over the photographic image and was able to step into their world, what would be the ties that bind? How could I explain the connection? This kaleidoscopic space of generational exchange and patterns of presence reveals the reality of uninterrupted black gazing (beginning from the point before the picture was taken because they were made from love). My heritage is in the photograph, and for many of the images presented, it is a family member taking the picture – a double presence, and then with me looking at this picture, it becomes duplicated once more.

Offering in these designs a space of transformation of intimate lives, whether placed on the wall, where these patterns normally lie unnoticed, speak, or to become part of the family album or retold in a structure of woven memories onto fabric, I have created an expression of continuation that is moulded of the purest form of communication, universal patterns – a beautiful experiment.

Nora, P. (1989) ‘Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire’, Representations, (26), pp. 7–24. doi: 10.2307/2928520.

bottom of page