The Truth is in the Soil - Ioanna Sakellaraki, Royal College of Art, UK
Inspired by the origins of ancient Greek laments, I dwelled within traditional communities of the last female professional mourners inhabiting the Mani peninsula of Greece looking for traces of bereavement and grief. My personal intention for realizing this project has been the impossible mourning of my father that is yet to come while making this body of work contemplating fabrications of grief in my culture and family. The series aims at expressing the strangeness of the present absence as a conceptual approach and commentary to cultural loss today. In a way, these images work as vehicles to mourn perished ideals of vitality, prosperity and belonging. By connecting my poignant grief with the dramatisations performed by the professional mourners, I look into the subjective spirituality of Greek death rituals. I am interested in how the image affirms things in their disappearance and gives us the power to use things in their absence through fiction. During my making process, the distinction between the real and the imaginary and the disturbance between represented space and personality lead to a tangible experience of separation. Through my images, this separation becomes an encounter. The human figure becomes a space opening into the outside where the image finds its condition and disappears into it. The images lay between real and unreal allowing the viewer to believe in the real that is yet to come functioning as passages between sheltering something from death and establishing with death a relation of freedom.