As a visual artist, I am fascinated by the way all of us create representations as thoughts and objects every day. This very process is the subject matter of my work, the aim of which is to demonstrate to the people who participate in my projects, and to those who see its finished state, how meaning is made.
Societies in flux are of particular interest to me, because people in transition are in a heightened state of self-awareness. My current work focuses on the elderly Russian community of Pittsburgh who are witnessing the Americanization of their grandchildren, and considering how the legacies of their own lives will figure into their developing identities.
Here is an excerpt from the Project Narrative from an Artist Residency with Emily Newman accomplished in 2012-2013:
“The project I propose draws from the histories of Pittsburgh’s elderly Russian community. The goal of the project would be to work with participants to produce short childrens’ films (in Russian, ‘multiki’) based on their early memories in order to capture the imaginations of their grandchildren. The films we produce would be screened publicly in the local community with an emphasis on reaching the community’s children as a way to forge continuity and understanding between generations strained by geographic dislocation. As envisioned, the films would be based on the dramatic re-enactment and recounting of events from the childhoods of the participants, through puppetry, doll-play, set building, storytelling, narration and conversation with each other and with their children and grandchildren. As final outcome of the project, I will produce a film within a film incorporating all of the participants work as well as documentation of the production and reception of the ‘multiki’.”