Honourable Mention: My Father Catches Me Confronting Memory, by Tea Gerbeza
During my adolescence, I often returned to photographs of my family during the Yugoslavian civil war, packed away in a shoebox. Memories stacked on each other. Even though I was barely a toddler before we escaped to Canada in 1995, I found that each time I looked through these photographs, the more uncanny they felt, as if I could remember the moment they were taken. But majority of the photos were taken before I was born. Memories I couldn’t explain surfaced and the boundaries between my own memories and those of my parents became unclear. Some memories I believe to be from childhood may actually be ones that were transferred to me by my parents. My work contends with this conflict in memory. Through the manipulation of old photographs, I directly insert myself into the historical moment they represent with the hope I can recover, understand and recontextualize the past into my present.
Memory is a powerful tool. How far will you go to remember an event, an individual, something that has made ruts into your brain. Living with these imprints on a day to day basis makes us the individuals we are. We learn to cope with constant reminders that we are as much as the past and the present. We have no choice but to go forward. This haunting image invites the viewer to linger in this room: almost touching, almost smelling and almost having a conversation with the person in the room. — Judge Shelley Niro