The title, Rotting from Within, refers to a feeling I describe as the unearthing of my father, the generational trauma that exists within the patriarchs of my family and subsequently the task of uncovering my own self amidst the things passed down. It’s a body of work that was made surrounding my father, spanning the nine years I made my reconnaissance with him beginning in 2014, after his incarceration for selling drugs and attempted murder. Between Berlin and Turkey, it deals with my struggle to define him as a father and man, the process of events that led to his life path and search for the places where I can attempt reconciliation.
When I began this project at 17 years old, having just discovered photography, I was fascinated by documenting his world, in awe of finally bearing witness to his life. The glorification wore off as I got older and learned about his past, how he has hurt his family. I kept a journal during this time, where I wrote about our experiences and the pains in our relationship. Eventually, I spent more time with his parents in Turkey. We went to their mosque, spent time in their countryside home, having big family meals where the conversations often revolved around their Muslim faith.
Being self taught was birthed in curiosity and my relationship with photography was the beginning of my ability to open up to the world. It was what allowed me intimacy with my father, and the various people I met in my youth. As I’ve entered the sphere of exhibition, it has exposed my reliance on an evolving exploration through materials, found objects, and the personal histories of my family. Installation has granted my work the opportunity for these stories to weave themselves in space, where the intuitive aspect of my style in taking photos leaves off. While I have to work quickly in real time, using instinct to guide me to a certain composition, something else emerges from the grouping of images in a gallery space that can only come to fruition when I am allowed the time to be deliberate in editing.
This iteration of the project includes a metal wall filled and collaged with my archive of personal work, pages of writing, and family photographs/objects. It is a representation of my process as I work out how I see my photographs relating to each other visually or in terms of their content, and how I begin to weave together the story I am trying to tell with the larger prints on the surrounding walls where the viewer gets the chance to wander through the consideration of details within these images. They are framed in walnut wood with a rabbet detail to remind the viewer of old family frames and contrast the studio feeling of the metal wall. I see this installation as a continuous evolution, something that will change each time it's hung in a different space, as the relationship with my father and myself continues to evolve.