Pairing her father’s work with her own, Jorian Charlton shares stories of “family, communication and immigration”

Pairing her father’s work with her own, Jorian Charlton shares stories of “family, communication and immigration”

Housed under a new exhibition named Out of Many, this curiosity has now been compiled as a momentous project that pairs Jorian’s photography alongside her father’s slides. A family album of sorts, it’s interesting to see the similarities and differences between them; not only is her father’s vintage in style, it’s very much a portrait of home and connections – people dancing or talking on the phone. Jorian’s is more modern in style and presents her ethos to tell stories that navigate identity and representation. The work has sparked many questions about her ancestry, but she knows she won’t be getting many answers by mouth, especially since has dad is a “man of few words”. Photography helps to alleviate these inquisitions. “I believe that this collection will forever have to speak for itself in some ways, and part of me is okay with that,” she continues. “It’s very telling in its own right. Connecting the stories from one image to the next is still a process filled with many gaps. Looking at these photos, creating my own archive and working on this exhibit definitely gave me more of a curiosity in terms of my ancestry, but I still have so many questions about my family and their experiences.”

Jorian is eager to learn, and this becomes paramount throughout her own image-making. In one picture, Jorian has photographed a girl named Nyali. It’s one of her favourites, chosen for the lack of fussiness: “There’s an innocence about it,” she says, citing how it’s one of her earlier photos from a series about two siblings. Taken in her back garden, the subject softly gazes at the camera while her face is illuminated by the sun, most likely taken in the evening. In another, Jorian has crafted a more stylised image of Nyabel and Nevine. The pair are captured in an embrace while lusciously green flora pokes into the frame, almost in the same shade as their hair. It’s refreshing and modern, a stark comparison to her father’s vintage slides. But equally, they both share the same goal: to build an archive. ”I hope people will be inspired and feel seen,” she says. “I hope after this show, there are more opportunities like this for BIPOC artists. I will keep pushing for new opportunities that help others feel included and represented in their local communities.”

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