Hiraeth

Hiraeth

exhibition

An exploration of nostalgia and simplicity

Southern Flinders Photo Festival 2019
The Light Gallery 2020

A longing to be where the spirit lives

Hiraeth is a Welsh word that is somewhat difficult to describe in English, for the reason that there is no single English word that expresses all that it does. Some words often used to try to explain it are homesickness, yearning, and longing.

However, there is more depth to hiraeth than in any of those words on their own. It is a multi-layered word, which includes a different variety of homesickness than what is generally referred to. This kind of homesickness is like a combination of the homesickness, longing, nostalgia, and yearning, for a home that you cannot return to, no longer exists, or maybe never was. It can also include grief or sadness for who or what you have lost, losses which make your
“home” not the same as the one you remember.

One attempt to describe hiraeth in English says that it is “a longing to be where your spirit lives.” This description makes some sense out of the combination of words that describe this feeling. 

The place where my spirit feels most at home is both a physical location that I can return to at any time, and a nostalgic of a home, not attached to a specific place, but a time from the past that I can only return to by revisiting old memories. My spirits home is not only separated by space or time, but instead a place of memory, where I can only go in my emotions triggered by the scenes this exhibition puts before you.

These images are deliberate in their construction, purposefully ambiguous in their description of place, but with a strongly defined  sense of scale. I aimed to capture the vastness of the landscape I felt as a child, and the safety and wonder that the broken horizons of gently rolling hills brought me, allowing me to daydream about the other worlds residing beyond them, while feeling protected by their distance. 

The feelings of belonging, comfort, solitude and simpler times attached to my childhood in Crystal Brook drove me to this visual exploration of hiraeth.

These are my crashing waves on the shore, they are the smell of the forest, and the sound of rain on a tin roof.  We all have our place that we go to dream, cope, and reflect in that bring us back to our childhood. Mine is “here”.