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A Garden of Illuminating Existence


The images in ‘A Garden of Illuminating Existence’ were inspired by my grandparents’ lives and the story of their marriage. I wanted to trace the different branches of my grandparents’ – my family’s – journey, to find out where they had come from, where they had been. And so I sought out the crumpled leaves of faded photographs and old pictures hidden in dusty boxes in the attic. I found a way of reimagining and commemorating my grandmother’s painful final years battling womb cancer.


When my grandmother is diagnosed with the disease, Death, a skeleton, entices her to give up hope, to surrender. In these pictures, the dark background is not emptiness but an element itself, highlighting the delicate objects that give her the strength to resist. I imagine her cancer as hellish flames inside her belly. The pain spreads like a great forest fire, just as chemotherapy burns her from the inside. She is trapped, a prisoner in her own body who can only find escape in her retreat to a world of memories.

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