An Interview with Melita Klonou, UCA Farnham

11 January 2019

Melita Klonou's work explores themes of contemporary motherhood, family relationships, and the inherent memories and perceptions attached to them. Through her photography Melita seeks to explore their meanings, as she oscillates from her children, to herself, through to her own mother.

See her work and much more in the UCA Farnham: Graduate Photography Show, from 12 January - 3 February in the Art Fund Prize Gallery.


Exhibition view of 'Motherhood and Loss of Identity' by Melita Klonou at The Lightbox

What made you want to pursue photography as opposed to other more traditional mediums?

As a child I grew up in a house where art and music were very important. Due to my father’s work I was fortunate that my family travelled a lot and we would always visit art galleries and museums. So when I picked up my father’s Minolta 5000 SLR camera and started taking photos on a family holiday, it all started to make sense. Photography is the ultimate tool to keep memories alive, for me, more than any other art medium.

Tell us a bit about the selection process you went through for this exhibition.

The UCA Lightbox Exhibition team was split into three sub-teams: Curating, Marketing and Technical. I was part of the Curating team, and we were given 97 images by 16 students, which we narrowed down to 28 pieces of work for the exhibition. Agreeing on the artwork to exhibit was really interesting, as in many cases we all had different ideas. We wanted to select work that showcased each student and showed the diversity of style and talent. I hope we have succeeded and people enjoy the show.

What has been the most memorable part of working on this project?

Selecting the work for the exhibition was fascinating: we would each come up with our initial selections and then get together and pick one or two works by each student. Two of the extremely talented photographers in our course, Athena Carey and Jimmy Lee, were also part of the Curating team and I found it really interesting to see how they selected mostly the same images, and how those images were also the ones our course leader, Anna Fox, would pick too.


From the series 'Motherhood and Loss of Identity' by Melita Klonou © the artist

Where did the interest for the subject matter in your series originate?

The two images included in the exhibition are from my final project at UCA, Motherhood and Loss of Identity. Since becoming a mother five years ago, I have been reflecting on the fluidity and changing nature of my identity in relation to my children, my mother and myself. These works evolved from my first year project, which explored memory, time and death. Frozen Flowers dealt with the memory of my mother and the difference between how my mind chose to see her and the reality of time taking its toll on her body. The freezing process became a metaphor for the illusion of eternal perfection.


From the series 'Frozen Flowers' by Melita Klonou © the artist

Are there any artists you feel inspired or that have influenced the way you work?

I have a mental database of visual images, created from years of looking at photographs. My love of photography began when I was introduced to the works of Magnum photographers about 20 years ago. Aside from that, I particularly enjoy the work of Bill Brandt, I find his perspective and experimentation with light and angles captivating and unique. If I had to choose my all-time favourite image, it’s a 1955 photo by him titled Portrait of a Young Girl, Eaton Place, a work that has stayed with me over the years.

How do you feel this experience has changed you and what goals have you set for yourself going forward as an artist?

Exhibiting my work at The Lightbox has been an amazing opportunity and I am grateful that UCA Farnham has established such a collaboration. For any art student, seeing their work on the walls of a well-respected gallery is right at the top of their achievements. Looking forward, my main goal is to produce thought-provoking work. In such an image-saturated environment – where billions of people have access to a camera and images are instantly and constantly uploaded and shared – creating memorable photographs is vital for me.

See Melita's work and much more in the UCA Farnham: Graduate Photography Show, on display from 12 January - 3 February in the Art Fund Prize Gallery.

Would you like to exhibit your work at The Lightbox? Get in touch to hire the Art Fund Prize Gallery.

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