Class of 2023 • Installation

Hannah Williamson


Hannah Williamson
Institution
Ulster University, Belfast School of Art

Medium
Installation

Graduation Year
Class of 2023

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My art practice is lens based, I focus on photography and video projection and audio to create video installations. My work incorporates valued personal family photographs, video, film, postcards, paintings, and objects from my grandparent’s collection, also found and recorded audio. My artwork is based on my grandparent's experiences and stories of when they lived in Brazil for 30 years working as missionaries. I use family photographs, super 8 film footage to explore imagery of the Brazilian landscape, portraits, travel, and buildings which show the colonial history still evident today.I combine older images with new imagery, projecting them onto my mother and grandmother who both have shared experiences of living in Brazil. The female figure has always been an important element within my artwork and in this body of work I have captured imagery of the women in my family as they are such important figures in my life. I have recently added myself into the work to explore the female line within my family, the idea of DNA and the translation of memories through different generations.My artistic process involves a lot of rephotographing and videoing old photos to explore the detail within them. I project video onto surfaces and objects such as my grandmother’s suitcase and fabrics from Brazil, creating layers and depth which develop into atmospheric video installations. I use projection within my work because it is a physical process which represents the psychological process of me choosing memories from the past to project onto my current work to make it new. The objects within my work symbolise personal cultural baggage that my family holds which connects us now as a wider family to the generations of our history living in Brazil. The colours I use vary from muted and aged tones from timeworn imagery which is up to 60 years old to bold and intense colours associated with Brazil.I experiment with recorded audio and combine sound from the Amazon rainforest with voiceovers of my grandmother speaking in Portuguese and English about colonial history and their experiences of living in Brazil. The main influence for this exhibition has been my grandparents, however the artist Fiona Tan’s video and audio installations have inspired my practice and the themes of memory, time and history in her layered cultural background.These ideas resonate with me because of my family's history living in the Brazilian culture and migrating back and forth from Northern Ireland to Brazil. My artistic process over this year has been a personal and poetic exploration of themes of migration, memory, language, and their place within colonial history.
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