Images Of My Father
Sometimes kismet becomes a tangible force in my life. I am not religious, in fact I'm an atheist but that doesn't blind me to the immensity of the universe or its energy. Occasionally things will happen, decisions will be made by myself, a turn there or a few minutes spare here that bring together items, memory lines or related subjects without me trying or meaning for them to coalesce.
Today I was cleaning out a desk, attempting to tidy up the forever swirling maelstrom of papers, photographs, found objects etc that I seem to constantly accumulate around me like asteroids caught in some strange gravitational pull. I opened an empty journal and out fell a passport sized black and white photograph. The photograph (above) is of my father as a handsome young man. He has long hair and on the back is written "The hippy going off to Kibbutz" and another word which I cannot make out***. It is in the handwriting of my grandmother and the photograph is heavily creased and damaged.
***With the help of my sister and her ability to decipher my grandmothers Handwriting we managed to ascertain that it says Jonas, which is John, my father’s name in Hebrew.
I don't remember when this image came into my possession, was it after my grandmother had recently passed away or before, a gift from her among many others as I researched the family tree? No matter it's origin it triggered memory. I tend not to think of my father often, he died when I was 18 and as a young adult I suppressed the incredibly painful feelings that his death had spurred within me, drinking on them for 12 years. Suppressing those painful memories unfortunately meant that a swathe of happy memories with him also began to fade, the love, the laughter, my childhood. My mind when faced with great loss has often decided to cut ties and lock away any residue of the subject of that loss, it then becomes difficult for me to locate the key.
I left home and made my way to a physio appointment I had in Victoria. I decided to stop off at Tate Britain as I had an hour to spare. Walking through its rooms without a specific artist of destination in mind and occasionally peering closer at a work or two, I stumbled onto the work of Marie Yates, specifically The Only Woman. In this work she reflects on the mourning process over the death of her mother. One image caught my eye and I have added it here (above). I know as humans we look for signs, for similarities and connections to make us feel more connected, part of something bigger. I'm aware of this and yet it was a feeling of connection. A nudge into the realms of possibility and a clue to where I could find that key.
I have wanted to start a series centred on my father, his life and loss for some time. That time is now for that small passport photograph reminded me that he was once young and had dreams and loves.
I'd like to get to know him again.