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  • Writer's picturePhotoED Magazine


A curator and a care-giver in conversation
Red flower petals arranged in the shape of a flower, mended with bits of red and orange coloured paper.

A long sleek grey table is covered in dozens of photographs of over-sized leaves. Look closer, and you’ll find the foliage appears layered, like a patchwork quilt. A pair of golden paint-by-numbers looking leaves sit nestled against each other; a broad, dark green leaf bears at its centre shingles of teal, seafoam, and ochre; a flower sits afire in scarlet, crimson, and marmalade.

These pieces are part of Jennifer Long’s series, Mended Leaves, the most recent entry into her decade-spanning lens-based consideration of motherhood, caregiving, and community.

At home in Toronto, the photographer shares her work with Peppa Martin, a visiting Vancouver-based gallerist, writer, and curator. The conversation flows from photography to family, care-giving, the pandemic, and how it has all shaped Jennifer’s current art practice.

A woman with grey hair and a white t-shirt and a woman with long black hair and a black t-shirt sit at a table covered in printed photos of colourful leaves.
Peppa Martin (left) looks at a piece from Mended Leaves by Jennifer Long (right).

“The artwork evolved as I circled close to home, walking through my neighbourhood as a way to reclaim public space during the lockdowns.”

“While on these excursions I collected petals and leaves and upon returning home these tokens were pressed in books, placed in vases, or laid out for immediate intervention. Using on-hand art supplies, I began exploring ways to transform the foliage through repairing tears, matching and re-imagining colours, and other such experimentations. These instinctual and meditative explorations gave me time to reflect on the experience of mothering during a period filled with unease, when time bent, stood still, and stretched in unfamiliar ways. I was altered by the act of care-giving during this time and those I provide support to were also affected. It led me to consider how the balance of self-care and giving of oneself is fundamentally tied to communication.”

Three slender green leaves mended with bits of brown, yellow, and green paper.

Jennifer explains that the project began with her daughters.