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"OIKOS
Claire French

A reflection on the enduring human ability to process change.

How do we resolve the loss of a future we thought would always be there? What do we do when the threads that tied us to our history and our future are broken?

Throughout our lives relationships change, with people and places, making us reassess who we are and where we’ve come from. This can often be accompanied by feelings of loss and grief, for the future that will no longer be, and for a past that is rewritten. This work engages with connections: between people, places, things; between memory and time; of transitions, goodbyes and new beginnings. The images pre-mourn something that is about to be lost: an old family home and a marriage. The family house has served as a conduit for my life: passing through it as a daughter, a young woman, a wife; as a touchstone for everything. Oikos is a Greek word that refers to the family, the family’s property, and the home. As concepts they are distinct but also perpetually combined, with the meaning shifting even within a single text, making it impossible to separate them.

In clearing out my father’s house, my family home, I was given opportunity to consider the boundaries and ties to places and things and their tie to both personal and family identity. An action that would normally be undertaken after death has allowed a consideration of mortality without the grief, whilst also connecting this loss with the end of my marriage, which began in this house.

Quietly, things fade out of existence, until they only remain in our memories.
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HEY! MY NAME IS...

MFA PHOTOGRAPHY

CLAIRE H ARMITAGE