Heirlooms

By Katherine Nakaska

2
Nana’s Buttons
From the series Heirlooms
20” x 20” Framed
Archival Inkjet Print
2014n
3
Curls From My First Haircut
From the series Heirlooms
20” x 20” Framed
Archival Inkjet Print
2014
4
Floral Makeup Compact; Broken Mirror
From the series Heirlooms
20” x 20” Framed
Archival Inkjet Print
2014
capture
Great-Grandmother’s Sewing Kit
From the series Heirlooms
20” x 20” Framed
Archival Inkjet Print
2014

“I am a visual artist primarily working with photo-based technologies and printed media. The importance of gathering objects of desire, the inevitable mortality of memory, and nostalgia for the obsolescent are what drives me to make images. Pictures embody a trace of time, fulfilling our desire to connect to the past. I am drawn to photography because of its sentimental nature; With the ability to take form virtually and physically, pictures act as links to our past by harboring memories and sentiments. I strive to engage the viewer in a way that makes them question their own perception of what is natural, the passage of time, materiality, and the tangibility of our own identity through accumulated objects.

This collection of heirlooms, keepsakes, souvenirs, and mementos that have been passed through ancestral lineage each have an inherent narrative of someone’s identity. Each item holds a trace of time that is revisited through the material itself. Memories and objects tend to deteriorate with age, a process that can make these things even more precious. The haptic quality of these photographs portrays a metaphor of contingent memory, one that gives us a deeper comprehension of those who first utilized and cherished these items. They are remaining souvenirs of one’s identity. Acting collectively as a symbol for all those who rely on material possessions to evoke memory, these objects remind us and allow us to imagine of a different time. Where as narratives are generated by objects, the souvenir and the collection are objects generated by means of narrative. Our ability to hold together disparate portions of time is also determined by our memory, as we remember and forget involuntarily. We all have similar genealogies that are embodied within objects of nostalgia. Each experience cannot be felt in the same way by different carriers, but objects can act as referents that evoke a different longing for any given individual.”

Katherine received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from NSCAD University, focusing on Photography. Her work has been exhibited in Halifax and Toronto, and she has instructed analog photography classes since 2014. During her time at NSCAD, Katherine curated the 2015 Graduation Exhibition, was granted the Roloff Beny Photography scholarship and was awarded the Governor General’s Silver Academic Medal for outstanding achievement in her undergrad. Her work has been reviewed in the Chronicle Herald, and she has been featured in PhotoEd Magazine and The Coast Halifax 2015 New Art issue. Katherine has documented events and art exhibitions for NSCAD University, Anna Leonowens Gallery, Mount Saint Vincent University, Canadian Art, the International Conference for Fine Art Deans, and countless artists in Nova Scotia. Katherine is currently working as a professional photographer and artist in Toronto.

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