What Will You be When You Grow Up?, 2013

What Will You Be When You Grow Up?

History! Hauntings and Palimpsests, Anya and Andrew Shiva Art Gallery, NYC, 2013

This series memorializes toddlers who were killed by their father figures for being perceived as gay. Each piece pairs photographs printed on fabric with micro narratives written on mirrored Plexiglas and also on vinyl letters placed directly on the glass facing outside. The works can be seen inside and outside the gallery, as the textile is semi transparent.

The series presents the photographic surface as a skin. The fabric falls gently in folds and creases. Its transparency creates effects of light that change throughout the day. The first view is of serene, classical beauty. The text is hidden by the mirrored surface of the Plexiglas and can only be read from close by. Being in the floor it invites the viewer to look down, as if in morning, and separates the experience of image and text. It is only when viewers read (when they are physically engaged) that they suffer the full impact of the crimes. Then, the images of sculptures become evocative portraits of the dead and acquire a tragic tenor. The pieces also work from outside the gallery where passerby can read the texts on the glass walls in front of the images. It is part of the life of the city.

These shrouds-like photographs struggle to memorialize, which is to fight the concerted effort to minimize, to dilute, and to forget.