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Exhibition Dates: September 15-25, 2020

“Loss” by Shahrbanoo Hamzeh and Emma Oliver

Our home is our corner of the world that we take root, day after day. (Gaston Bachelard, the Poetics of Space, p 4)

Shahrbanoo and Emma believe you can focus on the house, its structure and its elements, to think and talk about the residents: family. We are focusing on family, loss, and relationships. We are thinking of familial spaces; how relationships are different inside a house and outside of it, how people have a complicated relationship to distance with their family and the gain and loss of it, separation and division, closeness and being apart. Finally, we are thinking of the suffering and trauma that family members can cause each other.

We think about significant moments in life that affect us and try to represent them. When we experience similar moments in life such as first love, loss of a family member, a dramatic change in a relationship, or longing for our country in exile, we are brought closer together and form the compassion to understand each other through the displacement and discomfort of the situation.

Emma’s work deals with mourning, specifically the disillusionment that comes with grief and loss, manifested both in physical objects as well as snippets of text that the viewer has difficulty forgetting. She uses yarn as her primary medium for her work because she believes the act of stitching, raveling, and unraveling relates to the interconnectivity of shared experience.

Shahrbanoo uses the imagery of a type of doors, which were common in her country, Iran, when she was a child. She perceives doors as skin. The texture and wrinkles speak volumes while remaining silent. The irony that these doors have fragile elements made out of metal, adds a kind of poetic duality to the paintings, similar to the one that exists in different boundaries found within the painful touch of life. They can keep you safe as well as prevent you from getting help when you are unsafe. Some formal moments in the paintings reinforce the idea of duality as well.