Roxana Azar is a photographer and digital artist living in Philadelphia, PA. She is a recent graduate, receiving a BFA in photography from Tyler School of Art. Roxana runs the photo blog Grapevine/Soramimi and was recently published in Mossless Magazine and Of the Afternoon.
My artist statement for this body of work is a dialogue I had with my grandmother, out of context. While I was working on this series, she and I were talking, and she told me a (strangely true) story that really brought it home for me, like it was the missing piece:
“I used to have trouble flying, too. I barely left the house, or went in cars. One day, my neighbor told me to come over with my gold jewelry. She put them in a bowl and made me get cold water from the well. When I came back, she covered my jewelry with the water, poured a glass for me, and said, ‘There are nutrients in this gold. Now that your stomach is laced with it, you won’t be afraid anymore.’
After that, I went everywhere.”
Through A Gilded Stomach (2012) is a series of photographs that deal with the personal and the mythical and places them in a contemporary context. The objects and images that have been photographed represent an aspect of the women in my family with whom I connect deeply, or traditional ideals from a cultural history that clashes with my own. The series is an ambiguous chronicle in disarray, with each image acting as an important piece of the puzzle.
The artist statement, the snippet of dialogue, leaves the viewer with a feeling of ambiguity so it’s up to them as outsiders to piece the connections together. I recently installed a few images from the series for my BFA thesis show and also put together a booklet with many more images from the series. I am so used to just posting images on the internet, that using those outlets related to the presentation of the work (the wall and the book) was a challenge that ended up being crucial to how the series is experienced.
You can view more of Roxana’s work on her website