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Sally Waterman

Waterman creates autobiographical photographic and video works through literary interpretation, that explore memory, place and familial relationships.

Sally Waterman’s interdisciplinary arts practice and research is concerned with the interpretation of literature into an elusive form of self-portraiture. She creates poetic still and moving image works that explore memory, place and familial relationships, drawing upon writers such as Henry James, Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf.

Her practice-based PhD used T.S Eliot’s 1922 poem, ‘The Waste Land’ as a framework to examine her self-representational strategies and adaptation methods, culminating in a collection of photographic and video installations (2005-2010). Waterman re-invents the source material through a fragmentary re-scripting exercise, seeking autobiographical associations with certain images, themes, characters or concepts. Indeed, the chosen literary text functions as a mechanism for self-representation, enabling the recollection and re-imagining of past trauma. Difficult, yet universal experiences of illness, conflict, loss and separation are illuminated through a cathartic transition from literature into visual art, where repressed memories are addressed through staging the self.

Past group exhibitions and film festivals have included 'Shifting Horizons', Derby Museum & Art Gallery and Midland Arts Centre (2000-2001), 'Forest', Nottingham Castle Museum, Oriel Davies Gallery, Wolverhampton Gallery and York Art Gallery (2004-2005), 'What Happens Next?' Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery, London (2008), 'Voyage: Sea Journeys, Island Hopping and Trans-Oceanic Concepts', Künstlerhaus, Dortmund, Germany (2013), 'Bodies of Water', Royal West of England Academy, Bristol (2014), Berlin Experimental Film Festival, Moviemento Kino (2016), Aesthetica Short Film Festival, York (2017), 'Journeys with The Waste Land', Turner Contemporary, Margate (2018), The Family Film Project International Film Festival, Porto, Portugal (2019), 'MK Calling', MK Gallery, Milton Keynes (2020) and Video Art Miden, Greece (2021). Her work is held in public and private collections including The School of Art Institute of Chicago, the National Art Library at the V&A and the Yale Center for British Art, New York.

She has co-curated several film programmes including 'Tracing Ancestral Homelands' at Richmond American International University, London (2012), 'Family Ties: Re-Framing Memory' at Birkbeck cinema, London (2014), 'I'll Tell You My life: Remembering' at ViSiONA festival in Huesca, Spain (2016) and 'Filming the Personal' at Close-up, London and CCA, Glasgow (2016-2017). She was a visiting fellow at the University of London (2011-2012), where she organised the 'Family Ties: Recollection and Representation' conference, and is a founder member of the Family Ties Network research group. She has lectured at Plymouth College of Art and the University of Plymouth and is currently a senior lecturer in photography at  University for the Creative Arts, Rochester.


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