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Artist Statement


|   Statement
Statement | Where Memories Reside - A. Lilia Smith | artmedia GALLERY - Miami FL - 305
Untitled #16, Bench, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, Coral Gable, FL, May 2012

This body of work is a series of portraits of found objects, land and seascapes, presented as small offerings, meditations to reflect on the passage of time, loss and transformation. It is about what can emerge from our memories when we silence and immerse ourselves in the act of seeing.

The project was conceived as a collection of images about the sea inspired by childhood experiences shared with my father. While influenced and guided by these encounters, I did not wish to create a documentary account of them. Instead, I wanted to compose a visual poem with a relative degree of abstraction that could potentially elicit in the viewers their own recollections.

In considering how to photographically represent my ideas, what surfaced first was a poem that suggested the themes for the project. As the lines of the poem came to me, before I could write them down, I found myself entering a state-of-mind akin to an encounter with remembering. This kind of memory was not a mental or visual recollection of specific moments lived with my father, but a visceral bodily apperception of the moment. I felt one with the sounds and shapes of the words as they came to mind and mouth, commingling with the external elements that elicited them.

Each time I went out to make the photographs I entered a similar state. A moment-to-moment experience, where the impulse toward particular elements in the external environment, combined with the act of making the images, I experienced as remembering.

Where Memories Reside:

For my father

The palm trees stand tall blowing
on the wings of this early morning,
where memories and dreams converge
to honor a man who left silently
one autumn night.

The clouds with their immense profundity
against the blue sky move without intention,
overreaching the horizon.

It was not my time to leave he said,
and I waited for him to return.

With his parting he left behind
the signs that form the infinite line
of the horizon of my memories.

These memories are the anchor
that holds me to his existence,
floating on the sea of my deepest potential.

The light connects me to him,
to the flag of his freedom
that perpetually blows in the sky,
where I meet with him
and where memories reside.

by A. Lilia Smith