As an American female of Ukrainian descent, I am interested in the disconnect that exists between my psychological and cultural identities. After recently traveling to Ukraine for the first time, an unexpected feeling of loss and confusion altered how I perceive my role within my heritage. Although my distant relatives who reside in the motherland accepted me lovingly, I could not help but feel estranged; a severe language barrier excluded me from many conversations and interactions, widening the gap that I was attempting to bridge.
Exodus explores themes of language and place and the effects they have on identity. By combining audio from three different generations, spoken in English and Ukrainian by my mother, aunt and myself, I am allowing the viewer to share the experience of the language barrier that I experienced while overseas. The three pillars, which represent the cities I visited, Kiev, Kaniv and Tahancha, are placed to scale relative to their geographic location. Contained within each pillar is a loaf of bread with a mold of salt, symbolic of the hospitality and friendship offered by my family abroad.
After returning from my visit to Ukraine, I felt disconnected from a heritage with which I had always identified. The sense of displacement can be seen in the compartmentalization of the pillars, and while the audio represents the language hurdle and dissipation over three generations, conversely, it unifies the installation. I sense a faint unification through blood to this culture; perhaps then, blood and lineage can still surmount language and place as true identity.
Beets, dinner table, dinner plates
Performance, duration variable
Plexiglass, flour, salt, yeast, tapestries, baked bread, audio
Dyed muslin, wool
66” x 18” x 3”