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Pivot Points: Turkey England Turkey - New Photography by Helen Sheehan

LONDON.- YFBS Gallery presents Pivot Points: Turkey England Turkey - New Photography by Helen Sheehan. For 20 years, Irish photographer Helen Sheehan has been making work that moves between her fine art/installation background and her deep commitment to human rights and to issues of exile and belonging. She has worked on issues of conflict and justice in Belfast, Algeria, France, Bosnia, Croatia and Armenia, and has exhibited in London, Paris, Croatia, Slovenia and the USA.

In Pivot Points, Sheehan shows her latest narrative photomontage work which focuses on two individuals James and Zehra. They are both British citizens based in London, coming from very different yet connected experience.

While Englishman James comes from a materially well-off background, his relationship to the value systems, which led to that wealth, is complex, very critical, and yet also creative. Sheehan’s work with him over some months comes at this tension laterally, juxtaposing imagery of inheritance with his ongoing campaigning on oil and social justice in Eastern Turkey, which Sheehan visited for this project.

Over an intensive period, Sheehan and Zehra worked in London and Istanbul. They explored Zehra’s complicated relationship to her long-term adopted home in London, in light of her family’s persecution for political reasons in the land of her birth, Turkey. Sheehan explores the intensely delicate territory of integration, loyalty, longing, alienation and belonging across the two landscapes that shape her subject’s realities.

The series of photomontages evoke very different lives, yet two lives which grapple with intense complexity about “home”. We get a sense of gaps, of absences, of a kind of searching, yet also of rich, insightful, textured lives. Sheehan’s aesthetic, honed by her years of questioning the borders of photojournalism and art is exquisite and intimate, intense and provoking. These two explorations complete a quartet of subjects started with her work with subjects Pascal and Ali in Paris, exhibited in London and Virginia, USA. Pivot Points was funded by Arts Council England.

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