Artist reception 2pm Sunday, April 23
Vera Saltzman’s Sue and Winnie is a collection of 14 portraits of women over 40 with dolls they cherished in their childhood. The collection won the Silver Award portfolio prize in the 2016 Saskatchewan Prairie Light Photography Festival. Chosen from professional entries across Saskatchewan, the Silver Award recognized a photographer’s body of work and includes a solo exhibition at Godfrey Dean Art Gallery and a cash prize of $1,650.
The Daily Mail in the UK reviewed Sue and Winnie when it was printed in portfolio form: "Photographer Vera Saltzman explores the transience of life and the inevitability of death through the eyes of the women, who, driven by nostalgia of their lost childhoods, have kept their dolls for decades: sitting on a shelf, buried in a box in a closet, locked in an attic. The toys, some weathered from years of affection, others still in perfect condition, but all a product of their time, signify a past that is familiar yet unsettling."
Vera describes her work in this way: "These images are tinged with a sense of memento mori, a phrase dating to Roman times meaning ‘remember that you are mortal.’ As I age, I am constantly reminded of life’s uncertainty. This series helps me reflect on the human condition, the transience of life and the inevitability of death."
"Sigmund Freud believed the uncanny to be something which leads us back to what is old and familiar but is at the same time unheimlich or uncomfortable. This series explores the idea of the uncanny as it manifests in a longing for youth, and a recognition of mortality."
"Driven by the nostalgia of our lost childhood, many of us have kept our dolls: sitting on a shelf, buried in a box in a closet, locked in an attic. In these portraits, women over 40 are posed with their childhood dolls. Each doll serves as an entry point into the history of our life which is both strange and familiar. In my photographic survey I consider the rediscovery of these doll-mementos, which lead these women to recall a past of comfort and security. It’s hard to imagine a time and place when we would have played with these dolls. As young girls we spent hours with them. Our friend and confidant, they kept us safe at bedtime while comforting us during stressful times. Those days are gone forever yet eternally present as evidenced by the doll: an assurance of a past."