“Stained Roots” is an ongoing project that opens up the conversation about the challenges of illness, the choices we make, and how we choose to care for one another. Health challenges are a fact of life. They affect us, and those closest to us. Often these challenges mark who we are, and are passed down generation to generation.
From our own family’s medical history to an illness affecting a friend, to environmental conditions beyond our control, health problems come into our lives in a myriad of different ways, and we view them through our own specific lenses. At some point, we have to decide how to react to these conditions. Our choices around these situations inevitably leave an impact on our own lives and the lives of those around us. Some people choose to exist in the bliss of ignorance, while others employ every treatment available. Some seek solace in open and honest conversation, while others bury their emotions.
“Stained Roots” begins with a series of conversations with older adults, specifically those individuals sixty and over. Through these conversations, we discover the life strategies and coping mechanisms each person uses to deal with the events and challenges inherent in their daily lives. We learn why one person eats a certain way, chooses to take certain medicine, or spends their day doing certain activities. After the interview, a portrait is created that represents each individual’s challenges, and connects them with naturally found “remedies” that have been used for centuries in attempts to cure illness’.
The process for “Stained Roots” involves staining the images we make of our subjects with natural remedies, as a curative gesture for the health challenges they face. By leaving a stain on their portraits, literally and figuratively, we seek to connect the individual with remedies found in nature that are strategically beneficial to their real-life illnesses. These stains not only create physical marks on the individual portraits, but also represent the effect of illness on our lives, and the memory that we inevitably leave behind.
- Victoria Morris and Dane Rhys