View the ERASURE series gallery.
ERASURE: Memory and The Power of Policy has three points of departure: A practice entitled damnatio memoriae – a Latin phrase dating back to the 4th century BCE – resulting in the erasure of a person’s being; policy instruments approved by the elite leadership of the Soviet Communist Party to eliminate the individual and national identity of the Ukrainian people; and archival photos from that period. Each image represents an offering of meditation and lacrimosa, personal and collective; a history, invisible and unspoken. It is both hopeless and hopeful. The ghosts that inhabit these images – always fragmented and often unknown – point to the duality of beauty tinged with loss, the opposing forces of the frightening socio-political world and the poetry of the land, the people, and the heart – Erasure gives voice to those removed from our history.
The source imagery was reworked and reproduced on Japanese paper reminiscent of official documentation. The resulting photography-based works – conceived of as "mummy portraits", a style dating back to 1st century BCE Fayoum – point to an artistic language unique to the artist named fotomorfia. The delicate fragments were subsequently bathed in pools of egg tempera combined with lapis, ochre, 24-carat gold and encaustics — mediums often associated with the divine. Cadmium red appears as a fingerprint, a symbol of personal identity and an artistic gesture to immortalize those wiped away by government policy.