Drip by drip, we are fed with concrete (ongoing)
This multi-media work explores the psychological effect of censorship and silencing on the lives and the identities of people. It draws on my family’s lived experiences in the Soviet Union between 1952 and 1986. Their first-hand narrative accounts unfold through the photographs, poems, sound and diaries, revealing a distinct interpretation of the defining geo-political events of the Cold War era.
To create this series, I burned, defaced and buried in concrete the photos of my family, acting out their agony of constantly living in a state immersed in fear and secrecy. I used concrete and the Cold War bunker as metaphors for the impact of silencing on people.
This work is a visually expressive reminder of what we can learn from history, and the consequences of what can happen if we do not.
Culture Photo Editor at TIME Magazine Whitney Matewe, who chosen this work for 2022 Daylight Photo Award Juror’s picks, commented, “Sellen's work is striking and immersive — featuring the physical bunker as a prominent presence alongside vernacular family archives makes for an unforgettable pairing. I found myself thinking about the images long after viewing the project. And her brilliant use of texture and lighting makes for such a creative essay where each image is so uniquely its own visual experience; layered rich and complex, and yet the body of work all feels cohesive.”
This project evolved from my earlier work ‘Bunker Diaries’ that won the Shutter Hub Portfolio Award at FORMAT 2021.
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