Note: Some viewers may find the images and content of this article upsetting, reader discretion is advised.
Katrina Forster, based in the Illawarra, has been practicing photography for the past six years. Opening on Friday 18th of November 2016, her exhibition at Project Contemporary Artspace in Wollongong, explores and captures personal and intimate struggles with victimisation, intimidation and has engaged the community to bring these issues to light.
- Your exhibition examines the psychology of victimhood and bullying, a topical concern, how did you engage with your subjects to explore this?
Having been bullied myself and then living through my children’s bullying torments, it has given me and insight and allowed me to draw reference from within. I have been able to create pieces that will evoke emotions from viewers, giving them an understanding of the struggles and horror that bullying victims experience.
- How do you feel your medium, photography, was best to capture the personal, private and lasting impacts of this treatment? (Why, instead of how?)
I believe photography is the perfect medium to capture this issue. An image lasts forever and I’m hoping the images that are in the exhibition speak volumes to people. A lot of people are visual learners so by expressing this issue visually it will allow people to connect and draw on their emotions, making them ultimately feel, think and look at bullying from a different perspective. Photography is timeless and able to speak across generations!
- You’ve spoken about community engagement in relation to this exhibition, what were your hopes for engaging the community? How did you manage this engagement?
A key part of the engagement was suppose to be through the local schools but I found most of them were resistant and reluctant to explore the opportunity the exhibition would bring to the students. This will be shown in the lack of attendance of school representatives on the opening evening that they have all been openly invited to. Nevertheless I will continue to push through the many barriers there are pertaining to bullying and the education of!
This is a work in progress! I have been fortunate enough to have some amazing community support through telling their stories, expressing concerns, donations and help in many other ways.
- How do you feel the community of Wollongong and the Illawarra offered a particular insight into the ideas of bullying you’ve explored?
There are many forms of bullying and being able to explore them with the help of the community through face to face meetings, social media, emails and phone calls has helped and powered the exhibition. The community is ready for a change when it comes to bullying.
- Do you have a favourite piece in the exhibition?
I don’t give too much away, my favourite piece is one that stands out and catches your eyes straight away, it shocks you but once you understand the reasoning behind the image you adjust your view on it.
- Where can we find out more about your exhibition and your practice in general?
The work I have done for this exhibition is completely left of centre compared to my usual work. Is it my best technical work? No! but it’s my most passionate! You can see my usual work on my website or connect with me on Facebook.
For more information on the exhibition “Status Quo” at Project Contemporary Artspace, Wollongong, the event information can be found here, with an exhibition site also available.