Kill them with kindness, 2006 by Alex Kershaw

image of Kill them with kindness 2006 by Alex Kershaw

Artist's statement

Kill them with kindness is a portrait of my grandmother, Dawn Atkins. This image resulted from a year-long series of photographic visits to my grandmother's house and garden, drawing on her passion for ikebana, the ancient art of Japanese flower arranging. The project began from a desire to use photography as a way of spending time and to archive what is ultimately fleeting – our corporeal experience of time. In this image Dawn holds a strelitzia cut from her garden toward a biscuit barrel my late grandfather carved for her while serving in New Guinea during World War 2. Composed in front of the garage door these objects are re-ordered creating a portrait of intimacy and estrangement. The flower becomes a kind of magic wand used as a domestic invocation or perhaps a fishing rod for memories. The image records and remembers family lineage – a photograph designed to make old histories speak again and allow new conversations to circulate.