– I’ve know Ayala for about a year now since meeting through mutual friends. It was around the same time that I was able to first see her work while she had a solo show up in the SVA photo building. The work was from her first project “You Don’t Say”, an intimate look into her own family history. As soon as I saw her photos for the first time I knew they were special and throughout the year I found myself going back over the project again and again. I was so excited this fall when Ayala told me that she was going to Australia to begin a new body of work. Before she left she gave me very little information about what she was going to be shooting, just that it again dealt again with putting the pieces of her family history together. What she came back with is nothing short of amazing. Titled James, the project is Ayala’s personal search for the older brother she never knew. The work is overflowing with emotion and Ayala’s craftsmanship leaves me awestruck. Look out for some very exciting things in the near future.
When I was 12 years old my Israeli father told me that I have an older brother named James, who lives in Australia.
James was the product of a relationship my father had with an English woman named Linda, who moved to Australia and started a family.
Uncomfortable in the role of the eldest child in my family, I felt a great need of an older brother.
I became obsessed with the character of James, who quickly progressed into a figment of my imagination.
Unfortunately my father and I never had the chance to meet him. James committed suicide in October 1996. He was only 20 years old.
I needed to learn who he actually was, to know who I’ve been mourning for all these years.
I managed to find a documentary film called “Our Brother James” made by his older step sister, Jessica Douglas-Henry.
By watching the film, I met my brother for the first time.
That was not enough for me and I felt a need to make work of my own.
Thanks to the Tierney Fellowship; I traveled all across Australia in search of his family who, thankfully, accepted me as their own.
The photographs that I have created from this journey seem like an epic tale with many complications and surreal turns of events.
My aim is to create a poetic narrative of images, sound and text. By juxtaposing these fragments a story that is both personal and universal will emerge.