How the essence of a lost loved-one is left behind and captured

One of the portraits in the exhibition depicts Philip with his grandmother’s china pot

One of the portraits in the exhibition depicts Philip with his grandmother’s china pot

First published in News by

Portland is being brought to life as the venue for a thought-provoking art exhibition.

The cottage in Fortuneswell will house an intimate exhibition of photographic portraits being displayed as part of the upcoming b-side multimedia festival.

The exhibition, titled What is Left?, features a selection of the 50 portraits taken as part of a national body of work, and explores how a loved one who has died is remembered through an object they have left behind.

The portraits, which include people from Dorset, depict people from a range of ages and backgrounds holding a meaningful object inherited from a lost loved one, and is the result of a collaboration between Leeds-based performance artist Ellie Harrison and London-based photographer Roshana Rubin-Mayhew.

The pair have spent a year working with local community groups, organisations and bereavement charities – including Weldmar Hospicecare, Nikki Fryer and The Jackson Gallery Singers, Red Plait Interpretation LLP and Dorset Mental Health Forum – to find suitable individuals and families willing to share their memories and experiences.

Photographs are brought to life by an audio interview with each individual which audiences can listen to on a headset.

Portraits are accompanied by a booklet of their story and a bespoke ‘viewing’ chair, chosen by the artists to reflect the environment where the portrait was taken.

Portraits of people from the Dorset region include Philip, who holds his grandmother’s china flower pot, and Angie, who sits at her great aunt’s bureau. Ellie Harrison herself also features, holding a pair of leather gloves inherited from her mum.

She said: “One thing that really struck me working with people from all walks of life, young and old, was how glad they were to have the opportunity to talk about their loved ones.

“Everyone involved seemed to enjoy the experience of picking an item to represent the person they had lost.

“It’s also poignant that we’re able to bring this empty home back to life with stories, voices and photographs which remember those who are no longer with us.”

The exhibition, visiting Portland as part of a national tour, is at 107 Fortuneswell from September 5-14, open 10am-6pm. Admission free.

For more information about b-side call 01305 459440 or visit b-side.org.uk.

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