Post Memory from a Lost Country
by Emma Zukovic
Post Memory describes the relationship that the 'generation after' bears to the personal, collective and cultural trauma of those who came before – to experience they 'remember' only by means of the stories, images and behaviours among which they grew up. But these experiences are transmitted to them so deeply and affectively as to seem to constitute memories in their own right. (Hirsch, 2008)
Emma Zukovič’s practice is concerned with the disappearance of Yugoslavia, and those who struggled with cultural identity as a direct result. This concern extends to the diaspora displaced by the Yugoslav wars, of which her family counts themselves. ‘The stories told to us allow us to fabricate utopian images of a place that we may never have personally visited.’ Yugoslavia separated in 1992, causing a major shift in the cultural identity of its inhabitants. In learning of the lives and experiences attached to the former country, the artist delves into her own sense of self and affinity with a land that no longer exists. Being of Macedonian descent, and having spent time with former citizens of this collective state, personal considerations play a significant role in the artist’s reflections. Somewhere throughout Zukovič’s encounters with the behaviours and stories of Yugoslavia, a ‘memory’ of another life has been imprinted in her mind. Personal events and memories of early life in Hampshire at the time of turmoil in Macedonia are pivotal to her practice, in which she approaches complex political terrain through the mediums of photography, installation, film and print. Zukovič sources inspiration organically from the forgotten land; the recurring image of displayed, botanical-roots is relevant to her work as a symbol of those who were uprooted from their cultural heritage before her. The artist injects a surreal element to the work with the introduction of fog and smoke to the scene. This, alongside erratic etchings of acid on aluminium suggests a process of immolation.
Emma Zukovic was born in Lymington, England, in 1993. The artist is now based in Galway, Ireland. She received her BA in Fine Art Printmaking and Contemporary Practice in Limerick School of Art and Design. The artist's mother is of Irish nationality and her father is from Macedonia. Being of Macedonian descent, Zukovičc's work is concerned with the theory of post memory. Post-Memory and its relevance to the lost country, Yugoslavia.