DESPERATE to escape high school bullies, Fremantle artist Tanya Jaceglav jumped at the chance to do a special art school program at Balcatta Senior High School.
As a kid Jaceglav would draw for hours, and the program fuelled her love for art and eventually led to a fine art degree at Curtin University.
She went on to enjoy a successful art career, but took a break to raise a family and Fragments is Jaceglav’s first solo exhibition in 20 years.
It investigates themes of nostalgia, memory and identity using slides from the family’s photo albums from the ‘60s and ‘70s.
“They were discovered 15 years ago when visiting an aunt in New Zealand,” Jaceglav says.
“I was interested in what people were photographing back then, when photography was expensive … and photos were often more considered than they are today with our disposable, digital recording.”
She was surprised to discover graphic, almost documentary-style images of her father’s funeral cortege, after he was killed in a mining accident in Kalgoorlie, when Jaceglav was two.
“My mother as a young widow is captured almost collapsing in her grief as the coffin bearers walked with their heads bowed,” she says.
Another artwork shows her bereft mother, depicted as a solitary figure at her husband’s grave.
“Being able to spend hours with these images … drawing, painting and interpreting them into my own narrative gave me a sense of intimacy and closeness to a time when I had no real memories, only the slides to tell me their story.”
Fragments is at City Arts Space, Northbridge, May 5 to 14.
by JENNY D’ANGER