Displacement, trauma and loss combine for emotive exhibition at RGU

Wednesday 29 January 2020

Jennie Milne
RGU is set to host an emotive exhibition of work by MA Communication and Design student, Jennie Milne.

‘Developing the Negative’, which opens at the Sir Ian Wood Building on February 6, explores a journey through displacement, trauma and loss. Jennie’s work seeks to create a connection, drawing on the immense courage and resilience of those she has met.

The exhibition documents a search for Jennie’s mother's lost family, with a series of portraits, including Holocaust survivors and descendants of exiled Polish soldiers.

Her most recent project, 'Do You Know My Name?', created with those whose lives have been devastated by terror attacks, is also featured.

Jennie, who transitioned to RGU through the Degree Link programme with North East Scotland College (NESCol) in 2017, has worked extensively with the Polish and Jewish communities in the development of her work.

Jennie commented: “This exhibition marks a significant milestone in what has been a life-changing and unexpected journey.

“What began as a desire to understand who my mum was, and why she had been abandoned, led me to form connections with communities and individuals I could not have imagined.

“I have become engaged with history and been challenged by issues faced by Jewish people in our own generation. I’ve stood in amazement at the courage my grandparents exhibited, which has been matched in the lives of those I’ve photographed. 

“All the stories I have included have challenged and inspired me. We all have more in us than we could ever imagine. We need each other to draw that out. I hope my work helps to do so in some small way. 

“Studying at RGU has given me the opportunity to research and really engage with all these things, while allowing me the creative opportunity to develop projects that hopefully impact many others.”

Head of Gray’s School of Art, Libby Curtis, added: “This is an important body of work, not only for Jennie in understanding her own personal narrative and journey as an individual and creative, but critically as a body of work that speaks to our collective connections to our past and our community.

“Her commitment to her practice, and to this difficult and challenging subject, has brought the hidden stories of so many people to life. The connections and reach that her work has forged reveals the integrity and creative power of storytelling and importantly the medium of photography.”

‘Developing the Negative’ is compiled of three separate projects - ‘Fragments that Remain’, documenting the search for Jennie’s mother’s lost family; ‘From Generation to Generation’, portraits and stories told by the Scottish descendants of exiled Polish soldiers; and, ‘Do You Know My Name?’, work undertaken with those whose lives have been devastated by terror attacks in Israel.

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