‘Lie and Smile’ is a photographic series responding to my mother’s archive and absence, through which I construct prosthetic memories to reinterpret her life and embalm her death. Since 2017, I’ve been investigating the lived experiences that lead to parental abandonment, incarceration, and her persistence to conceal years of endured trauma. Familial narratives aid in rendering a visual elegy, and versions of my mother to confront or forgive, while I sustain negotiating with her ghost.
Rana Young is a Teaching Assistant Professor in the School of Art at the University of Arkansas. She earned her MFA in Studio Art from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln where she was an Othmer Fellow and a BFA in Studio Art from Portland State University. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, as well as published by CNN, Hyperallergic, VICE, Huffington Post, Harper’s Magazine, L’Oeil de la Photographie, The Wall Street Journal, British Journal of Photography, and The New York Times, among others. Kris Graves Projects (Queens, NY) published her first monograph, The Rug’s Topography, in 2019.