Erika Vancouver, Les petites-filles de Salvatore (Salvatore’s granddaughters)
«Erika Vancouver’s work addresses themes of identity, individuality, and community in subtle, insightful and persistent ways. She is an accomplished maker of photographs, sculptures, and installations. In her photographs she brings an awareness and sensitivity of light, space, form, content and colour that quietly yet persuasively animates the viewer’s imagination to stay with the picture to wonder and participate in a narrative.» Jeffrey Silverthorne, March 9, 2014
Who is Salvatore? Salvatore is an Italian migrant worker who, like so many others, came to work in Wallonia. The first Migration Protocol between the Belgian and Italian governments dates back to June 1946. It consisted of exchanging Italian labour for Belgian coal. The Bois du Cazier Mine tragedy in Marcinelle occurred on 8 August 1956. A major mining disaster took the lives of 262 miners, including 163 Italians, and would induce Italy to terminate the agreements.
Erika Vancouver invites us to a journey in time overlapping and crisscrossing the unique world of former miners from the Bois du Cazier Mine, and their descendants, through the prism of the Miss Italia Belgio competition.
From the bottom of the mine to the lights of the projectors; the journey addresses the issues of transmission and identity. Erika depicts what attachment to one’s roots means and, generally speaking, that derisory and necessary need to be born somewhere.
She uses these pictures to continue her questioning of the strangeness and the fragility of yesterday’s destinies like those of today.
All the pictures from the series were taken using 24 x 36 film with a Nikon F80.
Erika Vancouver graduated in 2009 with a Master’s Degree in Plastic Arts from Erg in Brussels.
She has exhibited at the Museum of Photography in Charleroi, at the Centrale for Contemporary Art on Brussels, as well as in France at the L’Imagerie in Lanion, in Creil during the Photaumnales, in Spain, in Portugal …
Her series have been projected at the MEP in Paris and at the Boutographies in Montpellier.
She published “Salvatore’s granddaughters” in 2016 at Arp2 Éditions.
Her work is part of the Contretype Collection (Brussels to Infinity) and the permanent collection of the Museum of Photography in Charleroi.