‘Away from Home’ is an exciting new micro-exhibition at the local independent gallery Bank Street Arts in the Cathedral Quarter. Described by the gallery as ‘an exploration of friendship and home through poetry and photography’, the premise for the exhibit is a romantically unique one. The two artists Rosalee Kiely and Gabriela Morales met as undergraduate exchange students in Halifax, Canada, and formed a bond that has lasted since then, despite the former now residing in Melbourne and the latter in Sheffield.
This joint project was conceived by Kiely, who was inspired by the theme of ‘home’ and wrote a variety of poems surrounding it. Morales responded to her poetry with photographs that she felt were suitable. The connection between the two media is not always immediately obvious, but upon examination, it becomes apparent that the artists were taking their own creative slant on the same concept.
I was struck by this collaborative premise: how two artists could use two different forms of media (written vs. visual) and yet still tell the same story. Despite the photographs and poems being written halfway across the world from one another, the two mediums work well together. The photographs bring an order to the poetry and arrange it into a broadly chronological order spanning from childhood until maturity – in this way, the exhibition also explores themes of growing up and leaving home for a new place. In the words of the artists, it explores ‘tentative alightings in places of home’.
The combination of poetry and photography to recount the next stage in the journey explores new dimensions that would not have been visible otherwise. It allows the viewer to engage with the art in a more intimate and vivid way – giving a physical image to match the images painted in the poetry makes it easier to develop a connection with the artists’ experiences.
The combination of poetry and photography allows the viewer to engage with the art in a more intimate and vivid way.
The theme of ‘home’ was an appropriate one for the two collaborators – both are from different cultures and have lived and studied abroad, meaning that they view ‘home’ as both a physical and emotional state that is not necessarily linked to one location. The poems and photographs associate themselves with Canada, England and Mexico, and this mixture of cultures diversifies and enriches the perspectives presented to the viewer.
Of course, this exhibition was not merely an artistic endeavor. As could be expected when two friends work together, it had a personal aspect as well. There was the added benefit of ensuring that the artists remained in contact, and that they continued to challenge one another artistically.
‘Away from Home’ is an artistic exploration of home, travel, friendship and growing up. Although these are universal themes, I found it engaging on a more personal level: as a university student, these concepts are especially relevant. I would recommend this exhibition, and hope to see more from the artists in future.