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Mementos is a portrait series initiated during a residency with the Slade School of Fine Art in August, 2019 (London, England). For this work every object in a person’s bedroom is compiled into a short-term ‘sculpture’ to create a condensed image them and their belongings. These intimate and voyeuristic portraits of "stuff" have visual associations to both garage sales and alters. Mementos is as much about the various objects we hold close to us throughout life as it is about the things left behind with death. I photograph in the participant's houses, which means their room walls quietly dictate the shape of each ‘sculpture’. Making the images in a person’s place of comfort allows the relationship dynamic to be more reciprocal: they are invited into my project and I am invited into their home. I adapt to their space and they fit into my project parameters.

This work includes 14 portraits of strangers ranging in age from 22-years-old to 66-years-old, half of whom are renters and the other half are home owners.

Two variations of this project (Toronto, ON and Duncan, BC) have been commissioned as memorial portraits for people’s deceased family member’s belongings. It was also a commissioned work by the city of Victoria for a storefront public art installation and exhibited as a video public screening with Grunt Gallery in Vancouver, BC (2020).

35” x 22”, Giclée print
65" x 32", Lightbox installation of “Eva”

Video still from “Mementos” Mount Pleasant Screen through Grunt Gallery, Vancouver, BC.

Peter, 2019

Debrah, 2019

Eva, 2020

Eva (Installation shot, 2020)

Nicole, 2019

Sue, 2019

Gerry, 2019

Gerry (Installation shot, Camden Arts Centre, 2019)

Eva, 2019

Richard, 2019

Richard (detail shot), 2019

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©2021 Libby Oliver. Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without express written permission from Libby Oliver.