For the first time since I was an adolescent, I’ve been spending (and craving) a lot of time alone. I’ve slowed down and been reflecting on what the last 18 months have brought me; how I work, the things that bring me joy, the people in my life and conversations both old and new.
When I was 21, I realised I didn’t really know my parents or grandma outside of their roles as careers, or beyond the families stories that had been memorised and repeated. I knew the bigger details, the milestones, the where’s and when’s, but I wanted to feel like I really knew them. I wanted to ask questions that maybe didn’t come up in everyday conversation; the seemingly mundane questions. Questions that if and when they were gone, I would know the tiny details of them; how they had their tea or coffee, if they could smell the rain coming, the name of the first person they ever kissed, something naughty they had done when they were younger or if and how they ever thought about death.
I created a series of interview questions that I sent around to my intimate family, close friends and some important adults in my life. The process was far more tender than I had ever anticipated. For each person who contributed, it was knowing that I wanted to know more about them, being able to take the time to reflect on their own lives and in sharing personal, sometimes unspoken moments. For me, it was the moment I saw a new response pop up in my box, in reading each answer and feeling like the tapestries I had been weaving of each person were becoming finer and more detailed. From a distance these delicate new stitches may not have appeared to greatly contribute to the overall portrait of each person, but upon closer viewing revealed a great depth and richness.
Now living and working in a new and unfamiliar neighbourhood, I found myself drawn back to this same interview method in wanting to know those around me. Almost 10 years later, ‘A Seemingly Mundane Tapestry’ has reemerged, now in a public format.
‘A Seemingly Mundane Tapestry’ was a reminder that the small things matter. They are what make us feel more connected to those around us, whether they be stranger, friend or family. Of the small joy it brings to know that someone is interested in your answer no matter how mundane; The small moment of connection felt when walking by the exhibition and reading a stranger's response, inducing a little laugh or sigh, maybe jogging a long forgotten memory.