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we were like balloons

we were like balloons is an ode to my  interest in family photographs scattered on fridges, hung in hallway gallery walls and tucked in drawers and books. Susan Sontag’s describes photo albums as the family’s “portrait-chronicle of itself — a portable kit of images that bears witness to its connection.” What stories and perspectives linger below the photographs that narrate our histories? And where is there tension between photography as a witness to connection and photography as the documenter of distance, of brokenness? I found answers to these questions in the honesty of the children in these photographs; their lack of self-consciousness betray the dissonance between experience and expectations, between presence and absence. Living in a busy city has only augmented my sense of the dissonance between sharing space and sharing communion, leaving me asking, are true community and celebration really attainable?

In my work I seek to explore these tensions in the space between the here and the not yet.  I am interested in the intersection of hope and despair, and in the movement from solitude to community that Jean Vanier describes when he describes celebration as “a cry of joy from all of them covenanted together, for they have been led through the passage of loneliness to love, of discouragement to hope.” My work is grounded in a hope for full communion and restoration, a hope that continues even during the loneliest of birthday parties.

we were like balloons is a series of paintings I completed while working towards my MA in theological studies at Regent College. As a student in the Arts and Theology track, I completed an Integrative Project in the Arts and Theology (IPIAT) that included this series of paintings as well as a theological research paper in which I explored the artist’s relational identity. 

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