Jerusalem: Redux (2019-2020)
Jerusalem: Redux contains work created during the research period of my Master's Degree in Photography. It is a dialogue between myself and my early M.A. project practice, and it highlighted questions I had about the meaning of belonging: What does it mean to belong in the context of changing ideas of national identity? Had I ever felt I belonged in the UK or anywhere else? The more I thought about this the more I realised that, even though I had been born in Leicester and lived most of my life in the UK, my mixed-heritage background meant I didn’t have a clear understanding of home or belonging. My life and upbringing had led me to experience my identity as being ‘in-between’ cultures, a hybrid, and had consequently never been grounded in singular idea of national identity. When I placed that in the context of 'populist' drives towards a supposedly defined version Englishness, then my sense of what belonging is became harder to define. So, I wanted to go on a journey of discovery to identity belonging for myself (if I could) and to understand it in others because it was apparent that, despite what was happening politically, this search itself was the experience of many people culturally and socially.
This work, then, grew out of meetings and discussions with many people some of whom became direct participants and collaborators in the research and it eventually led me deeper into ideas around third-culture lives, multiple-heritage experiences, and the essence of biomythography. Alongside the direct aspects of these personal experiences, the landscape of England took on a significance I had not anticipated and led me to the see the project as a being somehow in dialogue with the Blakean concept of England as a green, heavenly, rejuvenated land for all: his vision of Jerusalem.
This journey of discovery and understanding, and the body of work that came out of it, laid the groundwork for what would become my Master's final major project MANNA - Food, identity, and belonging.