To begin with I recognised the opportunity it presented for not only a deeper exploration of cyclical childhood trauma but also a pathway to use photo-therapy as a method of self-therapy. Through storytelling, I was able to reveal my true reflection of trauma via various recreations of the past. I have constantly battled with feelings of inadequacy due to neglect and absence of parental figures and it took a considerable amount of grappling with my own vulnerability in order to create intimate and familiar scenes. Nostalgic places and moments we encounter during childhood embody our most treasured and valued memories and that dissociative memories can cause familiarity to be found within physical objects. These objects, in whatever form we are able to recall, allow those who have experienced trauma to gain an elevated sense of calm and balance, essentially allowing brief respite from present worries and stress. Displaced from any one location, my practice represents personal escapism found within the materiality that surrounded me during my trauma. My work is heavily influenced by religion, drawing upon visual aspects of art and architecture as seen in both Christianity and Islam. To identify a sense of ‘worshiping’ I choose to place myself sitting on the rug, surrounded by greenery to engage elements that are seemingly reflective of my own personal reflections.
The Rug, Imaani Dar, Wool, Hessian and Latex, 86 x 73 cm, Edinburgh, 2022
Using the method of tufting, I made a rug and found the process very therapeutic as I used one particular pattern that evoked a sense of comfort and nostalgia. I based the shape on tympanums and was inspired by the size of an Islamic prayer mat, to represent how I ‘worship’ this sentimental pattern. The materiality of the wool was very important as I wanted it to be soft and welcoming, and induce a feeling of safety and familiarity. This pattern which surrounded me during times of trauma will always live in my mind but to have a moveable physical entity felt more sentimental and could supply me with a sense of control. I sit on the rug and maintain eye contact with the camera to imply a desire to protect the object. I allow myself to be comfortable and contained within the dimensions of the rug as an escape from the negative feelings that surround me. I photograph myself outside and around my grandparents’ house where this sentimental pattern originated. I am outside to show my physical disconnect from the house as it’s something I could never recognise as my own. I’m dressed in a timeless outfit to reiterate the cyclical nature of trauma and how it can be applicable at any age. I wear large white disk earrings, pink acrylic nails and no make-up to show delayed maturity and primitive femininity in a physical sense as a result of an absent mother figure.