I am a French/South African artist living in the USA. My entire childhood was about moving every year between France and Germany. As a teenager, I then moved back and forth between France and South Africa. Once I got married, my husband and I emigrated to the USA and have lived in different states. I was born with the weight of not belonging, not just because of the different cultures and languages around me but because my father could never settle down. This feeling of floating and never having roots is part of who I am. Truly a foreigner everywhere I go, with an accent that fits in no country. Even my birth language doesn't sound proper French! My work is very much anchored in this constant displacement and difficulties, the hardships, loneliness, and heartbreaks it brings. Since Trump was elected, there has been a kind of pressure in the USA where people who do not like immigrants make you feel their resentment. There is this constant subtle weight of having to be mute or censor yourself and to be careful not to say or do anything that would not be considered patriotic by such people. More recently, once more, my refugee status is due to climate change as our apartment in Fort Myers, Florida was badly damaged by Hurricane Ian last year and is still unlivable. Of course, I am in a very privileged position compared to others, but my empathy and understanding of displacement force me to consider the plight of other less fortunate people in my work only more intensely. My obsession with wildlife and nature also enters into this conversation as their plight with migration is made even harder due to human encroachment and our inaction on climate change.
The wounds in my series are all a part of this suffering, the mass extinctions of animals, the wars, the migrants risking theirs and their children's lives and dying, climate change displacement, and of course, the incessant madness of mass shootings. Using elements of natural history juxtaposed with fresh wounds, I try to link the suffering of the past with today's and tomorrow's suffering. I like to think that my series of works defines the common denominator that binds us all, foreigners or not. Life and death... and death bringing new life for the process to repeat itself. Living with the burden of fear. Requiem looks at the inevitability that we allow history to repeat itself because of our primitive impulses, wherever we come from.
Requiem is a lament for the dead. An elegy, a poem for the suffering of the dead. I aim to create a body of work that encompasses the pains of our fleeting and evolutionary existence on the planet. For all of us. As trees' roots make them anchored to where they are born. This makes me see them as gentle, long-suffering observers. Therefore, it feels natural to use them as extensions/hybrid witnesses. I use branches and tree trunks as a vessel to explore our cruelty through flesh, decay, natural science, and biology. I incorporate elements such as blood, wounds, scars, bones, fungi, mummies, fossils, botanical drawings, and insect pinning’s in detail to create an intimate connection with each piece. This series is ongoing. I am working on many more, each with its own complexities. My signature dark backgrounds, present in all my works, are well-suited for Requiem as they symbolize loneliness and the idea of looking into the abyss of infinity. I use a minimalist approach to counterbalance the bombardment of images the modern world inflicts on us.
"Parliament” is part of my Eye Candy/ Diversity collection. It is a discussion on the importance and wonderment of biodiversity.
I use the fascinating beauty of the many species of Owls to open up a conversation for humans about being open to our differences. Whether they be religious, sexual, race or gender. If we can find respect and a sense of curiosity about Diversity in the natural world maybe we could come to do the same in the human world. I truly believe that wildlife and nature teach us kindness.
A grouping of Owl is called a parliament.
In order of appearance from left to right: Whet-saw Owl, Barn Owl, Snowy Owl, Long-eared Owl, Screech Owl, Barred Owl, Great Grey Owl, Great Horned Owl, Pygmy Owl, and in-flight Northern Hawk Owl
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