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A Multicultural Journey in Photographs

Frontiers offers a visual representation of my experience of multiculturalism, depicting an inner world of multiple languages, religions and cultural landscapes embedded in the mind as fragmented memories in search of wholeness. Having grown up between France and the United States with frequent travels worldwide greatly influenced my vision and understanding of the world. Culturally, I am French, American, Algerian; raised among Jews, Atheists and southern Baptists; married to a Muslim and the mother of child who will carry all these cultures with him into a new generation. Because I fit into multiple molds of culturally defined identities, I find myself more of an observer than a participant; revising, editing and melting into the landscape. When home is everywhere and nowhere there is an incessant mental revision that makes reality ambiguous and the search for coherence becomes an instinctual reconstruction of memory through the fusion of place and time. Influenced by an aesthetic and theoretical framework that is inspired by my readings of Hélène Cixous and Anaïs Nin as well as a childhood fascination with the work of René Magritte, these images place doubt on the perceived object, rendering them poetic yet strangely disturbing in their inability to be defined. They produce a visual language that I liken to the notion of 'feminine writing' conceptualized by Hélène Cixous. They are non-linear, fluid, with silences and disruptions that transgress the phallo-centric order, remaining open and borderless. My childhood desire to crawl into Magritte’s paintings has been profoundly significant in the composition of my images. Hidden in our world are multitudes of other worldly possibilities that cannot be perceived without a deconstruction. In that vein, these diaristic images seek to deconstruct the visual vocabulary in which we feel so comfortable. Imagery is text to the extent that we attempt to mentally define what we see everyday with words. When we travel between different cultures and landscapes those definitions often do not fit our preconceived notions and we search for ways to describe the indescribable. My understanding of other cultures has come from breaking through those predefined cultural and physical landscapes to the point of reinventing my own vision. This work places doubt on what we see, questioning whether the world can be viewed differently than we have constructed it socially.

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