Amersham Roots: Sri-Kartini Leet
Locating Memory, Place and Meaning in a Buckinghamshire town
In 2022 Sri-Kartini Leet was appointed as commissioned artist for Amersham Museum, as part of a three-year partnership between Essex Cultural Diversity Project and Farnham Maltings, funded by the Rothschild Foundation.
The aim of the commission is to work with adults aged 30 and under, to creatively capture and present recollections and stories about Amersham from a diverse range of local people who have been born since the museum opened in 1991.
Sri-Kartini explored the idea of locating one’s roots through significant memories, objects or places in relation to Amersham by creating portraits of a diverse selection of those living in Amersham within their homes. She is interested in exploring our relationship to the environment and our homes, especially how it has developed during the pandemic, and the different ways domestic space can represent identity and a sense of cultural belonging.
The project was participatory in its approach, highlighting the importance of individual voices and visions in collective representation. Amersham residents played an active part in creating a visual archive through their contributions of significant images. The commission culminated in an exhibition at Amersham Museum with the portraits capturing a different connection to place and growing on the museum’s collection of local stories.
“I am extremely excited to undertake this project at Amersham Museum and the opportunity to contribute to an important collection. For me, creative practice is made all the more meaningful when engaging with the community – I look forward to initiating these connections.” Sri-Kartini Leet
“We are delighted to be supporting Buckinghamshire based artist Sri-Kartini in a residency at Amersham Museum. The project will create a physical legacy of a moment in time, capturing a diverse range of young voices and what it means to be in Amersham in the early 21st Century.” Amersham Museum
About the Artist
Sri-Kartini Leet is a Professor, Photographer and is Head of School for Art, Design and Performance at Buckinghamshire New University.
As an artist, Kartini uses photography as a tool for social change; her interest lies in exploring photographs as traces of the past, and the important role they play in acts of remembering, narrating and constructing personal histories. Her PhD work focused on migrant communities and refugee homes in London, where these interiors of homes tended to be one of transition or filled with objects and images that connected the occupants to their histories and homelands.
She has also won two international grants from PhotoWings, a California-based organisation that aims to facilitate the power of photography to inspire social change. Both projects were participatory; the first and larger project I Dream of Home asked participants to consider their ideas of home and to find or make a new image which captures it, and were asked to explain or narrate the significance of the image. The latter project, in partnership with Dublin City University, involved working on an intergenerational project using photography and video to document the histories of an Irish migrant community in Northampton.
Image above: From ‘I Dream of Home’, Sri-Kartini Leet
About the Project
This commission is part of a three-year project, funded by the Rothschild Foundation, to create the confidence, experience and networks for the communities of Buckinghamshire to present and commission cultural experiences. The overall project is managed by Farnham Maltings who are working with Essex Cultural Diversity Project on this commission, in partnership with Amersham Museum.