The Erasure serves as a tangible manifestation of the trans-generational effects of land and heritage displacement in rural North-East England.
The series is inspired by the loss of the my traditional family home in the years prior to my birth. My family lived and worked on the Cragside Estate for generations, until it was taken over by the National Trust during the late 1970s. The work cements the notion of the family’s existence upon the landscape, and therefore their heritage and identity, being erased.
The photograph above is of myself with my Mother, circa 1995, visiting Cragside. I never knew the place as a home, yet going there always feels like a homecoming. My family history, my heritage, my identity, is ingrained within the land. But it is neither visible, nor known to those who are not connected to it. We have been erased.
This image is a starting point for the series. It builds upon my previous work, Human/Nature (2016), where portraits were overlaid with images of nature, illustrating humanity’s metaphysical relationship with the natural world. It originates the work in something familiar, yet has an unfamiliar resonance. Our features have been obscured and the landscape has been overlaid with a present-day counterpart, illustrating how the family connection to the landscape has been obscured by the tourism sector, leaving those who once lived there as faceless forgotten memories. But the metaphysical relationship between people and landscape persists.
The series will progress by looking at what it means to be erased.
The photograph will be manipulated, mutilated, experimented upon, as a tangible instrument of the erasure of identity.