Lost somewhere between the earth and my home

Amy Friend

2018 - Ongoing

In my studio processes I utilized different forms of archives, many from familial sources. I began working this way after sharing innumerable conversations with my Nonna, who was an immigrant to Canada. In this continuing body of work, I reach within and beyond my “archive” to reflect on aspects of migration. My husband, who is a relatively recent immigrant shared his own stories, some melding closely with those from my family, even though, almost 90 years have passed since their departure. Certain questions remained with me while listening to both my Nonna and husband. I question what it means to imagine a life elsewhere… wherever elsewhere may be. What are we searching for? Why? What is lost and what is found through these departures or movements, if I can use that terminology here?

The imagery used in this project employs a collection of 300 handwritten letters, spanning 70 years, that I inherited from family. The other photographs I shot in Havana, Cuba (my husband’s homeland). Only 90 miles separate Cuba from Miami and locals often gather at the seawall overlooking the expansive harbor. This location was not chosen, solely for its connection to my husband; it is steeped with an aura of hope, imagination, as well as longing and loss, that is not specific to a Cuban-only perspective. I utilize this location as a carrier of meaning, a literal and symbolic passageway, an ending point, a starting point and, a point of stasis. The political tensions in our world feel heavier than ever. I felt it necessary to reflect on these personal histories with the aim of connecting people, to stories that relay what makes us human and alike. Some of the photos include folds and alternate hand-applied manipulations. Some folds mimic those found in the letters while others follow migratory routes. This work is steeped in the politics of migration and does not resist this, but rather serves to offer a “place” to reflect - on the complex experience of these movements in life.

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  • The ocean is a silent witness

  • What the sky records

  • Folded letters like maps of t he heart

  • Like maps on the heart

  • What I imagine

  • Folded lines, horizon lines, life lines

  • Anywhere

  • Liberty was a girl once

  • We think we know what they are thinking. We think we know how they are.

  • I'll dream right here and let the darkness fool me

  • 300 letters and 70 years

  • For all the love in this world

  • What I don't know

  • Hope needs us