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Christopher Young | Eight: The Shift

Location Chapel Gallery
From Saturday 21 November 2020 -  10:00am
To Sunday 21 February 2021 - 04:00pm

Eight: The Shift is an exhibition of photography by Western Australian artist Christopher Young. Uncovering end-of-life cultural experiences, the work explores how people respond to the experiences, environments and institutions they encounter during such times.

In hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and funeral homes, the work reveals addresses the paradox between highly-charged, emotive events in seemingly sterile and controlled spaces. For some, the sterility of these places might seem calming and reassuring. However, Young found the ‘otherness’ difficult to overlook in his own experiences.

This project stems from visits to funeral homes when Young’s father was diagnosed with a terminal illness. The first was a macabre behind-the-scenes tour and later for his Father’s funeral. He found both experiences disturbing and thus far unique in his adult life.

“My relationship with my father was distant and often dysfunctional. Our collective apathy left us with limited shared adult experiences as well as an inability to communicate. Despite his diagnosis and the associated ‘deadline’, we never found the language to sit down to discuss his looming death.”

Despite it being inevitable, death is not something we freely discuss. It is often seen as a taboo subject, especially intergenerationally. The passing of a loved one can be further complicated by the foreignness of the surrounding experiences. As death is inescapable and inevitably part of everyone’s experience, this series has opened a dialogue with Young’s audience that has been enriching for all involved.

The series also includes anonymous interviews with people about their own end-of-life experiences. Eight: The Shift was first exhibited at the Perth Centre for Photography in 2019. A limited-edition book was also launched at that event.

The project was made possible by the Australian Government’s regional arts program, the Regional Arts Fund, which gives all Australians better access to opportunities to practice and experience the arts. The Regional Arts Fund is administered in Western Australia by Regional Arts WA.

The regional tour is also supported by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.



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