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Portfolio | Grief And An Ode To My Heritage

After the passing of my Grandma early in April, I felt like a whole piece of me and my heritage had vanished. One minute she was here and the next she was gone, forever. And just like that it dawned on me that I could never see or talk to her again - This was so difficult for me to comprehend. Her death had me asking questions like, ‘where did she go?’ and 'could she still hear and see me, even if I couldn’t?' I had feelings of guilt as I self isolated during this coronavirus pandemic, frustrated that I couldn’t do more to help her, let alone simply be there to hold her hand towards the end of her life. Although I'd known for some time that her health was deteriorating and she would soon leave us, nothing prepares you for the loss of a loved one. It’s the deepest sadness you’ll ever feel and as life goes on, I’m sure there will still be emotional periods from time to time.

Now almost two months have gone by and I've challenged myself with a still life styling project, in honour of Gran, her love of tea and of course our Chinese heritage. I've titled this project 'Heritage 2.0.' It's (unintentionally) a follow on project from my first set which, if you scroll down, you can see in my portfolio here. In this set I've explored the wonderful textures and earthy hues of my Grandparents' belongings, from a rustic-looking, handcrafted stool to old books and a tea set. I’ve even featured the remains of Gran's five spice mix a she loved to cook.


And the purpose of this project? Well, I think it's been part of the grieving process for me. It's been a while since I've created anything so I'm pleased to have channelled my energy into something meaningful to me and hopefully inspiring to you in some way. The process was cathartic. I didn't plan too much but instead I embraced my feminine energy, that is, the process of creating freely and in the moment.

Some of you might know me as an ‘artist’ first and foremost but if you’ve followed my journey on Instagram, you'll notice a natural progression into the world of advertising and marketing - more specifically, product styling. I find great pleasure in creating beautiful imagery for brands or in this instance, creating for the sake of the process. I'm completely in my element doing so.


Is your brand is in need of images for social or web? If so I'd love to hear from you. Shoot me an email hello@melissaselmin.com to discuss your project.


Art Direction, styling and photography by Melissa Selmin.

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