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Hemland Hemland Hemland Hemland Hemland

On 01, Jan 2014 | In | By jilliadmin


Hemland is a Swedish alphabet project that mines the photographic and written artifacts of my family’s pilgrimages back to Sweden. Translating these travel images, which were chronicled in disparate photographic media indicative of their decades, into the medium of cyanotype allows the images to occupy a common visual plane of shared experience. Side-by-side images of tourists loitering on Gamla Uppsala burial mounds, forty years apart, speaks to deeply-held impulses to return to the lands of those who came before us.


Artist’s Statement

My maternal line hails from Sweden, and we have a history of returning. The first time around, we only stayed in the States briefly, trying our hand in Pennsylvania coal country. When things weren’t much better back in the Old Country, we gave the New another go…this time in the lumberlands of Michigan. And there we settled.

A generation later, my cosmopolitan Great Aunt Margaret, proud holder of a PhD in home economics and member of the Johnson Administration, took her eldest sister Alice Alphild (a.k.a. Hup), a retired housekeeper, on a Swedish holiday. Nearly twenty years later, my mother (Aunt Margaret’s namesake) studied abroad in Stockholm for a winter. And in the summer of 2013, my mother and I travelled through Sweden together.

In our family archive, we have Aunts Margaret and Hup’s old vacation slide show (with corresponding detailed typed notes), my mother’s graduate school photographs, and her preserved family postcards. Combining these accounts with our contemporary collection of imagery and ephemera, I have created an alphabet series that layers our different experiences across time in the same novel geographic space of a land that is supposed to be “home.”


View the work at its exhibition premier at Denver’s Pirate: Contemporary Art gallery here (Jan. 31st – Feb. 16th, 2014) >


A. Alfabet : Alphabet
B. Bergtagen : Bewitched / spirited away to the mountain, home of trolls and giants
C. Champinjon : Mushroom
D. Dalahäst : Dalarna horse
E. Ensamhet : Loneliness
F. Fika : Coffee break, with snack
G. Get : Goat
H. Hund : Dog
I. Inredning : Furnishing, interior decoration
J. Jordfästning : Burial
K. Kossa : Cow
L. Legymer : Vegetables
M. Midsommarstång : Maypole
N. Nöjesfält : Amuseument park
O. Olycksfågel : Unlucky creature
P. Posten : The Postal Service
R. Ren : Reindeer
S. Systrar : Sisters
T. Tåg : Train
U. Uggla : Owl
V. Vatten : Water
Y. Yttre : Exterior
Å. Återspegling : Reflection
Ä. Äde : Nobel
Ö. Överfart : Crossing, passage


{2014, cyanotype with gouache and wax mounted to panel, 8 x 8 in and 8 x 10 in}