Memorandum is the outcome of a Siganto Foundation Artists’ Books Fellowship at the State Library of Queensland 2015 -2016
In 2015, I volunteered at a senior centre in Brisbane where, for several months, I met with Elly, William, Annette, Doreen, Delma and Jim. During our meetings; we shared stories and organized, scanned and captioned their family pictures; I made sequences of portraits of each one of them; I conducted informal interviews and transcribed their life stories, which I reviewed with them until we were satisfied with the final edit.
As a Siganto Artists’ Book Creative Fellow, I had the opportunity to access the artists’ book collection held in the Australian Library of Art, as well as photographs, maps and newspapers, among other items from the John Oxley Collection – both located at the State Library of Queensland in Australia.
Producing Memorandum required almost two years of production; at the final stage, I had the pleasure of collaborating with local printer Phil Leonard, who was responsible for printing 200 copies of the book. Such work required a lot of attention to detail and handwork.
* Final handmade dummy showing communication with the printer
Memorandum has been recognized within diverse disciplines; it was awarded the AAANZ Best Artist Book Prize 2017, as well as a silver award with distinction by the Australian Professional Photography Awards and a highly commended prize by the Australian Photobook of the Year Award. It was also shortlisted in Les Recontres Arles (France), Libris Award (Mackay) and Felila International Prize (Argentina) to mention a few. It has been exhibited broadly nationally and internationally, and it was acquired by the Australian Library of Art and the National Library of Australia among other collections.
In July 2017, I presented an academic paper ‘Memorandum: from concept to publication’ at ABBE in Brisbane, which was selected for publication in the Journal of Artist Books, USA. Also, artist Lyn Ashby presented Memorandum as part of his paper ‘Narrative and the artists’ books’ at SLQ, published in The Blue Notebook: Journal of Artist Books, UK. It was also published in the Japanese Magazine, IMA, as one of the best Photobooks of 2016 selected by renowned independent curator Yumi Goto. The book was included in ‘Correlations’, a touring exhibition curated by artist and researcher Tim Mosely, which identifies intersections between independent publishing and artists’ book practices.
* Memorandum, 2016
‘[…] What immediately struck me about this book was its quiet authenticity. Estrada has not set out to be clever, super cool or to shock. The work clearly comes from her heart and head and therefore movingly resonates with the reader […] If the purpose of an artwork is to get the viewer or reader to reconsider their place in the world Ana Paula Estrada’s Memorandum accomplishes that task admirably.’ Harvey Benge, acclaimed photographer and book maker, published on his blog www.harveybenge.blogspot.com.au
‘ […] I think this work is not just a shelter for preserving memories, but is more about the preserving, acknowledging, and perhaps celebrating of the actual act of remembering, as if remembering itself must not be forgotten. This subtle sequencing of portraits suggests the contrast of two types or movements of time. It presents, or simulates, the intensity of the moment of recollection which suggests a vertical depth, timelessness and presence, and contrasts this against the otherwise relentless, dissipative, horizontal flow of normal time.’ Dr. Lyn Ashby, researcher and artist, published in The Blue Notebook, Centre for Fine Print Research, University of the West of England, Bristol. Vol. 12 N.1, 10-12
‘With this book the artist has really explored all the implications of what an artists’ book is, or could be. Starting with the idea of representing the memories of some old people could be seen as too ‘easy’, but the artist rigorously experimented with a wide variety of techniques, which nonetheless remained integrated into a coherent experience for the reader. An example is the tight temporal sequencing of the portrait photographs from page to page, in some instances even approaching the ‘animation’ of a flip-book where we see heads turn and smiles emerges. […]There are inserts to discover, pockets to dig into, and gatefolds to unfurl to discover more ‘intimate’ memories. But these affectations of the artist’s book are never gratuitous or overdone as they sometimes can be.’ Judge’s comments published on the AAANZ Prize website http://aaanz.info/prizes/
‘[…] At a first glance Memorandum could seem to be just a book of straight portraits featuring old people. There are multiple images on successive pages occasionally interspersed with a range of other photos and ephemera[…] Estrada’s portrait sequences present the subjects with subtle expression changes. Turning the pages of the book are like a conversation with the person – animated and suggesting a dialogue is taking place.’ Dr. Doug Spowart, independent researcher and artist, published on his blog www.wotwedid.com October, 2016.