Dundee student’s Degree Show celebration of life and loss
Published On Wed 23 May 2018 by Jonathan Watson
A courageous University of Dundee student has used the trauma of loss to inspire her artwork.
Janine Getty was just 16 when her mother Catherine passed away, an event that would seem unlikely to inspire her in years to come.
However, the Time Based Art & Digital Film student from Glasgow admits that she has since used the experience to transform her life, a turnaround that has culminated in her exhibiting at this year’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design and Architecture Degree Show.
After spreading her mother’s ashes around an Oak Tree on the banks of Loch Katrine in the Trossachs, Janine, now 28, revisited the site to seek inspiration for Oxenfree, an interactive light installation that is one of more than 300 exhibits on display at this year’s event.
“The tree is a 100-year-old oak perched on top of the rock,” she said.
“It has grown, smashed through the boulder, and its roots now hold it together and I think that’s very symbolic of my mum. She was just 45 when she died but she always held everything together.
“She doesn’t have a headstone – the tree is effectively that – but when I go to that space I feel the presence of my mum.
“It’s not a sad feeling. I feel a lot of joy, a lot of playfulness, and excitement for life, which is not something normally associated with death.
“I hope that people viewing my work might take a sense of celebration and peace from it.”
Janine’s project features line illustrations of plants surrounding the tree at Loch Katrine where her mother’s ashes were scattered.
The interactive plates are illuminated in hues of blue and turquoise when activated, colours inspired from her research in cyanotype, and is a process that she hopes can form a connection between visitors to the show and the positivity that can be discovered after loss.
The exhibit is accompanied by sound recordings taken at locations important to Janine, including Loch Katrine, Tentsmuir Forest, and the University’s own Botanic Gardens.
Her showcase at the Degree Show is the culmination of a 13-year journey, one which celebrates the light that can be found in the darkest of moments and the abundance of life often left in the wake of loss.
The Degree Show is one of the highlights of Dundee’s cultural calendar, and has already attracted thousands of visitors since opening to the public last week.
Concluding on Sunday 27 May, entry to the event is free with further details available online.
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