‘Ex-Voto’ explores Christian pilgrimage sites in Lourdes (France), Ballyvourney (Ireland), and Grabarka (Poland). Often placed anonymously and hidden from view, ex-votos are left by pilgrims as expressions of hope and gratitude, creating a tangible narrative between faith, person, and the landscape. ‘Ex-Voto’ encompasses formal portraiture, large format landscape, and small, detailed still-life shots of the objects and markers left behind. Shot on 5×4, large format film, the images evoke a distinct stillness and reflect the mysterious, timeless quality present at these sites of great spiritual contemplation.
Ex-Voto Still Life
The Faithful - Vera
Vera is an Orthodox Christian nun whose portrait is a central and powerful work in the Ex-Voto series. ‘Faithful’ explores the life of Vera in photographs and film and gives a close account of the daily routine and rhythm of living in faith in the unseen world of the Saint Elizabeth Covent in Belarus.
‘Lost Summer’ began during the Covid lockdown when the artist was frustrated that she couldn’t travel to work on her existing projects. Once lockdown eased, she began to move around her neighbourhood, photographing the teenage children of local friends from her street and the surrounding area. The portraits show these young adults dressed and ready to attend their proms which were cancelled as a result of the pandemic. Instead of the usual setting of the school or hotel halls, the portraits were taken in their gardens and backyards in North London. The prom portraits capture the poignancy of a lost summer for teenagers who were unable to sit their school exams or mark this significant step in growing up and leaving school. Three works from ‘Lost Summer’ - ‘Samuel’, ‘Jameela’ and ‘Jack’ - won the 2020 Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize.
‘Night Wanderings’ focuses on night-time London during lockdown. Inspired by the American photographer Robert Adams’ series of nightscapes in the 1970s called Summer Nights, Walking, she undertook a series of wanderings where she lives in Holloway, north London. The photograph ‘Untitled 1’ taken near the Emirates Stadium contrasts the sanctuary of the home with the hazard of the street – a metaphor for lockdown living. These images are unsettling in their emptiness with figures lurking in the shadows and the artist admits to feeling uncomfortable whilst taking these photographs in deserted London streets.