Activity Martha/Together



Siân Davey (b.1964, United Kingdom) is a psychotherapist who, in the past five years, has returned to her roots in the fine arts to explore themes that have resonated throughout her life and career. This project, like much of her work, centres on her family, exploring psychological landscapes of those around her.



Photography, 2014-2015

Siân Davey’s photographs presented here include works from her different series that focus on the lives of families around the United Kingdom and own her children individually, from an exploration of the experience of her daughter Alice, who has Down’s syndrome, to a documentation of the life of her teenage stepdaughter Martha and her friends.

Her work is also, inevitably, about the people she loves and herself. She is always there as the photographer, as a stepmother, as a mentor and friend, but where she is and where she places herself is harder to see as her family changes and moves further away from childhood. The complex reflected gaze between her and her subjects begins to shift as, for example, her children try to define their own sense of self, to decide who they are becoming.

Unconventional families are part of Davey’s make-up. She left her own family when she was still a teenager and is a mother to four children between the ages of six and thirty. Consequently, she has found that her process of photographing families helps her to “metabolize life”. Ultimately, Davey wanted to create a project that celebrates family life in its unpredictable complexity.

Davey’s sense of rawness and authenticity in her photographs refers to the idea of a personal journal. As a viewer, it feeds some sort of voyeuristic desire to look at life in other families and moments of everyday life. With her background as a psychotherapist, the artist refers in the end to what makes people who they are and how they form the complicated human species that we are. To me, Siân Davey’s photographs are a hugely important reflection on today’s society in an era where it’s all about making everyone’s life incredibly fabulous!

Curator : Maude Arsenault


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