Sept 7, 2023
Studio XYZ, British Columbia, Canada, September 6-28
I believe that in every woman's life, there comes a moment when she feels despair and hopelessness due to a man's rejection. It happened to me for the first time at the age of 8. I remember inviting my classmate on a weekend date. I prepared for it for several hours. I put on my best dress, curled my hair with an electric curling iron, wore my mother's wide-brimmed velvet hat, and even applied lipstick with a trendy iridescent shade. Despite the cold and rainy weather outside, the rain beating against my face, I felt irresistible and magnificent. At home, I had oranges that I planned to treat my chosen one with. I envisioned playing with him and simply having a pleasant time, but he didn't show up. I stood outside for hours, waiting. It seemed like any moment his figure would appear from around the corner, and everything would go according to plan, but I was mistaken. The next day at school, I approached him and decided to ask why he hadn't come. However, my hurt ran so deep that I, in a mocking tone, exclaimed to him, "You missed out! I had oranges!" He was surprised and didn't say anything.
Now, almost 30 years later, I understand that men perceive things quite differently. That boy felt that moment in an entirely different way. He didn't attach the same importance to my invitation for a playdate, and certainly, he didn't stand him up with any ill intent. I remember how taken aback he was by my mention of oranges. And there I was, proud and independent—or at least, feigning that appearance—swiftly making my retreat.
As an immigrant who left my Motherland 15 years ago with only one suitcase, my childhood memories hold a special place in my heart. I grew up in Ukraine, a country that was invaded by russian forces in 2014 and ravaged by war in 2022. My family was forced to flee and seek refuge in Canada. However, while I am grateful for the safety and opportunities this country has provided me, I can't help but feel a sense of loss for the places and memories that I left behind. Through my art, I aim to capture and preserve these memories, recreating them in a way that is meaningful to me and reflects my personal journey. Utilizing AI-generated photos, I am able to recreate the moments and places that are forever etched in my mind, allowing me to revisit them in a new and unique way. This project is not only a form of personal reflection but also a way for me to share my experiences with others. As an immigrant, my story is just one of many, and I hope that by sharing my memories and experiences, I can help others understand the complexity and beauty of immigrant life. While I may have lost much of my family's heritage and artifacts during the war, through this project, I am able to create something new and meaningful that can be passed down to future generations. My childhood memories may be a thing of the past, but through my art, they will live on forever.