WK8 – ARTIST CONVERSATION – SHANNON LEITH

“Gluten is the protein found in wheat I have always loved

who unfortunately doesn’t love me back.”

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Shannon Leith is a 28 year old artist who moved from Canada to Long Beach who has a major food allergy when it comes to gluten.  She discovered art when she was a senior in high school.  Here she took a trip to Africa and discovered the world through photography.  Her idea and inspiration for this was the study of what we can’t eat and how it feels going through that sort of grieving and healing process.  It is a big loss and she heals by using both a serious way and humor.  Up until this day she can’t eat corn, rice, caffeine, sugar, tomatoes, eggs, dairy, etc. – not being able to eat glutton which is most available and is a bummer.

The materials used were printed photographs, slideshows, soundscape and the blanket.  Or as she has it written down, “gluten free photograph, gluten free slideshow, gluten free sounds, and gluten free blanket.”  The first few days of opening up the gallery, gluten free cakes were out for people to eat during the opening on Sunday nights.  The soundscape is able to be processed as you sit in the chair with the sound on top of your head.

This whole room was made for her as a comfort space.  It’s a place for nostalgia and reminiscing about the good times of things you have lost.  She says it’s like after a break up, you have stuff that reminds you of that person.  You would tend to go through old voice mails and pictures and things like that because the memories give you the sense of nostalgia.  And with those old pictures in mind, you keep those on hand because you can’t have the real thing.  It’s a sense of loss and remembrance.

The whole idea of losing something and remembrance of better days is something that almost everyone can understand.  It is depressing because you can’t completely cut something out of your life, you have to move on and replace it.  We sit there in life craving for what we once had and sometimes it just kills you both physically and emotionally.  Therefore we make our own little world and use that as a comfort space where we only see the good times and not the bad that came after.

You can find her work on : http://www.shannonleith.com

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