While we belong to ourselves, a little bit of us belongs to everyone - Review
I’m having an afternoon out with my mum. We live in the same city, neither of us have dependents and we are both self employed. Yet despite that, finding time that ‘suits’ us both was a task in itself.
Before visiting, I try to read up a little on the artist and her work. Caitlin Griffith's website states: "Central to my work is the idea of identity being created through a process of exchange. To date this has focused on both the external exchange - our interaction with other people - and the internal exchange - our recalled experiences and memories. Both these concepts are rooted in common psychological theories of how we build the self."
It seems appropriate then that I am coming here with my mother. She was the first person I set my senses on when entering this world. For several months I identified 'as one' with her. I didn’t know who ‘I’ was. There most certainly is a part of me that still belongs to her.
The opening piece stops me in my tracks. ‘Art histories’ is achingly relatable. We have all been there. Building what we think we need on to whomever was near by. Wanting what you can’t have. It hurts to think about it. My mum and I discuss this. We are generations apart and yet this fundamental human instinct is inherent within us both.
‘Exchange’ invites the visitor to write their own business card, answering the question "Who are you today?", leaving it on the allocated slot on the wall and taking the artist’s business card (limited edition) in return. As seems appropriate, we make a collective effort. "Reflective and joyful" seem to belong to us today. There is always something welcoming about contributing to an artwork. The opportunity to leave a bit of ourselves for others to see.
‘Love in Red and Blue’ is compelling to watch. Will they fall in love? Following Aaron’s ’36 questions to fall in love to’ the artist and companion make their way through the questions. Different opinions, beliefs and ideas are apparent. Is this an obstacle or a hurdle towards love? As a young child my mother and I shared the same view of the world. As time goes on, external influences and internal shifts shape you into a different being. In conversation with her I question how much she is holding a mirror up to my ‘true’ self and how much of what I identify with comes from the ideas she has built around her and, ultimately, me.
Relationships are complex. Griffith’s enquiry into this area of life deals with this in an insightful, thought provoking and relatable way. Like all good art, Griffith explores things that are important to us all. She bears witness to what it means to be human. It’s a great example of how art can make us heard and where by listening we might dismantle the barriers that divide us.
My own work spans themes of identity and belonging. By learning about others, we learn about ourselves. Perhaps the key is not to project but to listen and develop compassion both for our selves and for those who are talking.
About Laurie Nouchka:
Laurie Nouchka creates artwork for bodies and spaces. Her works of art are all inspired and informed by movement, be it through human form, architectural landscapes or travel.
Laurie co-created walls on walls, a site specific project that works with organisations to bring community engagement to an area through art. These spatial artworks are created on site specific walls and include commissions from Camden Council and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Each art work uses audio and visual means to tell a story of the changing local landscape.
For more information on this exhibition, including opening times, visit our gallery page!