Sarah Fuller Photography
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Camouflage (Hulinhjįlmsteinn)
The Horticulturalists
Leaving Town
The Road North
Camouflage
The Forest of No Return /
The Homecoming
Experiment in Landscape
My Banff
Book of Dreams
Dream Lab
Dream Log
Vestur + Icelander
Saturday Mornings, The Diner
You Will Want to Come Back
Culls
Photo Tarot
Wonder Woman
 
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Camouflage (Hulinhjįlmsteinn)
Artist Statement and Project Description

2017

I explore layers of history and narrative through the use of the photographic object. An underlying feature in my work is displacement ­– be it physical, psychological or constructed. In Camouflage (Hulinhjálmsteinn), I am exploring mimicry and camouflage as a way to assimilate into a foreign landscape.

In early 2016, I began researching my Icelandic heritage, and the mass migration of Icelanders to Canada in the late 19th century.  Through this research, I learned of the significance landscape and storytelling had on in the western Icelandic diaspora’s understanding of the ‘motherland’.   The psychological effect of being uprooted is reflected in North American Icelanders’ literature, with feelings of loss and division featured prominently in stories and poems. Landscape is also present in a symbolic form in the costume of the Fjallkona, a mythical Icelandic character who came to represent the ‘mother Iceland’ to settlers in Manitoba.

In June, I travelled to Iceland to create a series of photographs and video performances utilizing a rock camouflage cape as a means to blend into the Icelandic landscape. In each video, different degrees of concealment and disguise are explored. At times the struggle to control the cape highlights the impossibility of the endeavour, in other sequences I merge almost entirely and eventually disappear.  The resulting photographs function as a relic of the action. My embodiment as a boulder is intended to reference a glacial erratic – a tangible remnant of geologic memory and time within the landscape.

The resultant videos and photographs within this body of work act as a documentation of a performance as I try to find different landscapes across the island where I could blend in. Additional landscape images from the Icelandic countryside emanate the sublime, the strange and beautiful, but in works like Two Rocks, also suggest a presence within. The studio shots created in Canada function as still life merging with performance to create an uncanny representation of scale.

In the fall of 2016, I travelled to Gimli, MB to visit the site of New Iceland, the Icelandic reserve set aside by the Canadian Government for Icelandic immigrants in the late 19th century. While visiting the New Iceland museum, I learned about the Hulinhjálmsteinn  (invisibility stone).  Folklore surrounding stones and rocks, including the Hulinhjálmsteinn are an integral part of traditional Icelandic culture.  As a west Icelander thinking about place, integration and camouflage, the idea of the invisibility stone speaks to my attempts to disappear into the landscape.

This work represents a conceptual exploration of what it means to be from one place but have ties to another.

This work was supported by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, The Louise Perry Memorial Scholarship and the University of Ottawa Faculty of Arts Travel Fund.
 
 
 
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