Meet Elli Bardas, the artist behind our 'Love & Legacy' portraits
Where did you draw your inspiration from for the composition of the photos, and the grandmothers in front of the wallpaper?
My initial visual inspiration was from a Polish art student, Natalia Weirnik. I saw her images online and found them very powerful and captivating. I then adapted the style to fit how I see the world. My initial series using this style was about how we fill our surroundings with thing that look like us and while we can be camouflaged by it, I actually saw each person’s individuality come through. With the grandmothers, I wanted to continue with that theme and really show the similarities while celebrating their individuality.
What was the most fun part about taking these photos?
The entire process was fun! I truly loved meeting the women. They were all open, generous and supportive and I learnt something from each of them. I left each session feeling part of the sisterhood and the web of life. Then choosing the material is quite a painstaking and fiddly job that is also very satisfying. It fulfils my desire to play with fabric even though I have no sewing skills!
What do you think audiences will feel when looking at these portraits?
I hope they feel proud and connected to their own grandmothers. I hope we all take a moment to honour the amazing grandmothers in our lives.
Did your perception of Jewish grandmothers change through the taking of these photos?
My grandparents weren’t stereotypical grandparents so I guess I knew that there is no such thing as a typical Jewish grandmother.
Can you tell us a bit about your grandmothers?
I loved both of my grandmothers. They were both so glamorous, sophisticated and exotic. For me it was different to how I see grandmothers now. They didn’t play an active role in my life and I didn’t spend any one on one time with them which I miss retrospectively. The times were different though.
Thanks Elli! You can check out Elli’s extraordinary photographs on display now in the ‘Love & Legacy’ exhibition.