Tabitha Barnard

MFA ’21 Photography

In my most recent body of work, Bird Song, I examine the ever-changing relationship between me and my partner’s family as we migrate, converge, and grow. For the past ten years, I’ve been photographing my three younger sisters. In the past three, I’ve begun to include my partner Nam’s two siblings in this collaborative image-making. Together, we negotiate our divergent families, learn to understand them, and see them through each other’s eyes. While there is love and understanding-there is still tension present in these images, between the past, and as we navigate our relationship and reconcile with each other’s differences. Through my photographs, I examine the ways the seven of us fit into our family’s existing cultures and the ones we have created. Through both staged and documentary photographs I begin to tell the story I’ve witnessed over the past few years as well as the history that lies behind it. With strong roots in both our cultures, these images are a collaborative effort on our part to give visibility to the way people and cultures cross, embroidering and enhancing both in the process.

Tabitha Barnard was raised in Maine. She works with photography, exploring themes of family. She received her BFA from Maine College of Art. In 2018, she had her first solo show at Speedwell Projects. She has been awarded the Gomma Grant and Burn Magazine’s Emerging Artist Award. She has had work in exhibitions at Aperture Gallery, Panopticon Gallery, Vogue US, and Red Hook Labs. Tabitha is currently teaching at the Maine College of Art.