Fellowship 2010 Exhibitions
Pa Bouje Ankò: Don’t Move Again
The Alba Series
On view November 30, 2010 through January 15, 2011
Laura Heyman of Syracuse, NY, and Laura Bell of Girard, PA, are the winners of the
Fellowship 2010 competition. They were selected by juror Deborah Klochko, Executive Director, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, from submissions by 258 artists representing 32 states and 12 foreign countries.
Don’t Move Again, an ongoing series of portraits made in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, immediately before and after the January 12th earthquake. Laura Bell of is the first recipient of the $1,500 Keystone Fellowship, a newly-created award open to any Pennsylvania photographer. She was recognized for The Alba Series created while living in Edinburgh, Scotland, from 2008 to 2010.
Pa Bouje Ankò: Don’t Move Again
Laura Heyman’s initial visit to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was at the invitation of the artist-organizers of the Ghetto Biennale, a festival in that took place in November and December of 2009. The festival’s premise was to explore “what happens when artists from radically different backgrounds come together. When 'first world' art objectives encounter 'third world' artistic reality, and when Western artists try to make art in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.”
Heyman's response to this question and to the cultural complexities of representation was to set up a simple, outdoor portrait studio in a courtyard off a main boulevard in the Grand Rue neighborhood. She discussed how each sitter wished to be seen and photographed them against a cloth backdrop using a vintage 8-by-10 field camera. In formal terms, Heyman was inspired by the work of Mike Disfarmer, James Van Der Zee and Seydou Keita — three of the great studio portraitists — who “used the commercial and utilitarian aspects of their practice to portray their subjects with a consideration and respect that was both clear-eyed and beautiful.”
The negatives were processed and contact printed in a makeshift darkroom set up in Heyman's hotel room, so that each sitter would receive their picture before the artist left Port-au-Prince. “The life of these images was to be entirely determined by their subjects, potentially occupying a place of importance in the home, or as an exchange between loved ones," said Heyman. Now, in the aftermath of the earthquake, the original context for viewing these portraits has again shifted. “In addition to whatever they were initially, the images are now a record and a memorial. Some of the people pictured here are living. Some are missing. Some are dead,” commented the artist.
Heyman returned to Haiti in March and May of 2010, and her project has evolved to include views of the tent cities as well as U.S. military and other people involved with humanitarian aid and reconstruction efforts. Heyman will resume work on the project back in Haiti in the coming months with support provided, in part, by the Silver Eye Fellowship 2010 award.
Laura Heyman is an artist, curator and associate professor of photography in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. She received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan in 1998. Her work has been exhibited at such venues as P.S. 122, New York; Ampersand International Arts, San Francisco, CA; Deutsches Polen-Institut, Darmstadt, Germany; Senko Studio, Viborg, Denmark; The National Portrait Gallery, London, England, and Light Work, Syracuse, New York. Her work has been published in Contact Sheet, The Photo Review and Frontiers. Heyman is also the recipient of a New York Foundation on the Arts Strategic Opportunity Grant and a Light Work Grant in Photography. Her most recent curatorial project, Who’s Afraid of America, was exhibited at Wonderland Art Space in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2008.
The Alba Series
The Alba Series takes its name from the Scottish Gaelic word for Scotland, the locus of and inspiration for this work created between 2008 and 2010. Bell accompanied her husband to Edinburgh while he worked towards an MFA degree. This was the first time Bell had ever left the United States and the process of adjustment to a new culture was both profoundly exhilarating and unsettling. The Alba Series references the dramatic landscapes, the culture and peoples of Scotland but at the heart of the work is how physical and emotional displacement leads to profound self-inquiry and acts of exceptional imagination.
Laura Bell received her BFA in film, video and photographic arts from The Cleveland Institute of Art, where she was awarded the Agnes Gund Traveling Scholarship and other grants for excellence in photography. She has exhibited at the JMC Center for Visual Arts and The Cleveland Foundation in Cleveland and at venues in Murray, Kentucky; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Sheffield, England. Her works are in the corporate collections of the Morton Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Cleveland, Ohio and the Avery Dennison Corporation, Mentor, Ohio, as well as in private collections in Naples, Florida; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Fairmont, West Virginia; and San Francisco, California.
Silver Eye Center for Photography is generously supported by our members and individual donors and by the Allegheny Regional Asset District, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Fine Foundation, The Grable Foundation, The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation.
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