THE LONG WAY HOME
Home is the center-weight of Odette England's artistic practice, with memory and forgetting being the counterbalances. Her photographs are fragile, contemplative and temporal spaces. Throughout her practice, she explores the volatility of identity, emphasizing the unstable nature of the past/present and the parent/child seesaw. These overall themes continue to be examined with The Long Way Home.
"I make photographs about ‘house’ versus ‘home' and its link to autobiographical memory. But rarely do I put my memory to the test. Before leaving Rhode Island in 2012 to return to my birthplace of South Australia, I buried some negatives near the house I was renting. The damaged negatives were of my childhood home in Australia, now in ruin. I’d laid them to rest with flowers I’d pressed, flowers that reminded me of home. In the fall of 2017, having returned to Rhode Island and bought a house three blocks from where I’d lived, I tried to remember where I’d hidden the negatives. I had nothing to go by except memory. I buried 25 of them, the age I was when I first left Australia to live abroad. So far, I have found seven.
Every week for almost six months, I have I walked the neighborhood, searching for these decaying artifacts. As I do, I get to know better the place in which I now live but find difficult to call home."—Odette England
42" x 54"
Archival Pigment Print from Buried Negative