Staats' lens-based work and more recently, performance, video installation and sculpture, combines language, mnemonics and the natural world as an ongoing process of reconnecting with a Haudenosaunee [Iroquois] restorative aesthetic that defines the multiplicity of relationships with trauma and renewal. The trauma that is felt from his personal and existential displacement from the Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) language and subsequent relational worldview, has motivated a recent sequencing of video and photographic works within a mnemonic continuum. In creating recent large scale photo installation works, this visual restitution draws influences from within Staats' family archive, which consists of diaries, letters, photographs and audio recordings; the Haudenosaunee creation story; the ceremonial continuum of performative burdens of condolence, and a continuously re-imagined role as observer and participant, all in an effort to elevate the mind and to countervail complex trauma, dissociation and the existential loss of self.
Wandering through city streets and pathways in search of a lost landscape, Velibor Božović discovers remnants of woods and meadows. His large format camera sparks conversations with passers-by and residents, acting as a catalyst for telling of stories and requests for posed portraits. The trees now contained and pruned to fit into backyards and alleyways act as reminders and witnesses to the changes around them. Their growth and adaptation to the urban landscape is an archive, storing memories of the city as a lush forest and imagining their growth without human intervention. Through Božović’s images, the city is allowed to momentarily return to this wilderness and to foreground how two coexist in constant tension. His photographs look at how humans and trees find a way of navigating around each other - shaped by fences while defying their boundaries, creating small pockets where one feels transported into the deep forest.
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COMMUNITY FUTURES WESTMAN