© Mat Hay; © Melanie Letoré; © Josée Pedneault; © Bertrand Carrière
An exhibition of new work by contemporary photo-based artists made in exchange residencies between Street Level Photoworks and VU Photography Centre in Quebec City. Working around themes of heritage and migration, the two artists from Quebec and their counterparts in Scotland have developed new work in response to their stay in each respective city and the dialogue that emerged both during and after their residencies.
In No You Without, Melanie Letoré takes as its starting point inherited familial histories of migration to explore questions around belonging and attachment to place. Photographs of anonymous people and broken things hint to unnamed tensions, which reflect the process of identity-building when one doesn’t quite yet know “home”. Mat Hay’s main area of interest and exploration during this residency has been human migration into and across Canada. Sourcing maps and charts, his work explores the causes and results of movements of people, with the photographs observing the relationships that people have with their environment, marks on the landscape and the architecture of industry, religion, and culture.
In her installation Badda means the Sea, Josée Pednault, narrates the memories of Nasir S., a fisherman and free diver who left a Somali island for a new beginning in Scotland. His grandiose stories which evoke mythology became a springboard for this work, which reflects on how modes of memory are tactical forms of survival. In echoing Paul Strand’s quest of what is the essential character of a place, Bertrand Carrière’s work explores what it means to be from somewhere through the eyes of young people. His expansive series of portraits include young men and women of, or around, 20 years of age, the same age Carriere was when he fist visited Scotland 41 years ago. In the series he fuses history and present time, giving a sense of place with a poetical perspective, a quest to find some kind of an origin and the sentiment of belonging.