Self-portrait in the front bedroom

Pia Johnson

Self-portrait in the front bedroom, from I Said Goodbye to Every Room, as if Saying Goodbye to You series, 2020, Lightbox print (triptych) 

I said goodbye to each room, as if saying goodbye to you speaks to life, loss and the houses we inhabit. I created this series a few months after my Por Por (Chinese maternal grandmother) died, when I visited her house for the last time, on the date of her birth. It was a house I knew well, a migrant home in one of Melbourne’s suburbs—a constant in my family and filled with childhood memories—now emptied of all her belongings. Although she had not lived there for her final years, there was a strange sense that the house still embodied her; that the smells and memories could envelop me, allowing me to say goodbye. 

The video work Becoming Por Por (after Beckett’s Not I), 2018, features my Por Por and my mother, as part of a broader exploration of family and maternal lines, and will be shown at Only-Connect. 

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