By the rivers, I stood and stared into the Sun: Star Montana @ Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles
Shulamit Nazarian is pleased to present By the rivers, I stood and stared into the Sun, a solo exhibition by Star Montana. Born and raised in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles, Montana’s photographic practice reflects her family history, as well as the varied physical and cultural landscape of Boyle Heights and city of El Paso. Through newly authored images and the repurposing of her family’s archive of personal photos, Montana explores fragmented histories, reimagining lost time as part of the continuous cycle of life.
The exhibition's title By the rivers, I stood and stared into the Sun is an adaptation of the biblical reference, By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. In Montana's version, she rises and defiantly stares into the sun, remembering generations past and the river of Latinx diaspora that endlessly forks and divides.
The exhibition is comprised of authored images by Montana, appropriated and enlarged archival photographs, and a large scale photographic wall mural. Presented in a single line, these photographs drive a highly suggestive narrative, invoking a family history that feels familiar, yet incomplete. Like a lingering melody, the exhibited images rhythmically shift up and down at varying heights, conveying visual hymns of resilience and strength through portraits and landscapes.
Reflecting on the importance of place through moments passed, the artist's images span generations and utilize photographs taken by her grandmother and mother. Carefully arranging portraits and landscapes, Montana reflects on the narratives of her matriarchal family through non-chronological and non-linear presentations. This restructuring of various points in time allows for anachronistic relationships to emerge, addressing an introspective and ongoing story of loss, sorrow, and growth—all in light of a more hopeful future.