Amelia Stein

born in 1958, Dublin, Ireland, where she currently lives

Loss and Memory (2002)

Photographs were shown in the Rubicon Gallery in Dublin, Ireland, they are part of the collection at IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art), and will be shown this year in a curated group exhibition What Happens Next is Secret (
There will be a limited edition of the prints (5 images) available from Stoney Road Press (
The website “Loss &Memory  ” was built by X communications:
Amelia Stein is a member of the RHA royal hibernian academy, ( and a member of Aosdana. The Arts Council established Aosdána in 1981 to honour those artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland,

After the death of both my parents, I was encumbered with the task of closing down their home, removing all their possessions. The images are those of selected objects that I brought to my studio. /Amelia Stein/

Loss + Memory

Amelia Stein is a photographer with a reputation for probing portraiture, and in the past ten years she has undertaken a number of intently focused and significant solo-exhibitions. This body of work, Spartan and intimate in presentation, records some of her late parents’ personal belongings. Memories imbue ordinary objects with status and meaning. In handling the unremarkable and familiar possessions of an individual, one might imagine a level of contact is re-established or at least one might access, at a heightened level of sensitivity, certain specific associated memories

The artist came to terms with her parents’ absence by handling and organising their most familiar and everyday belongings. After some time passed, her instinct as a photographer was engaged, and she did what came most naturally to her – made images of her mother’s gardening trowel and hand fork, her father’s well-worn gym shoes, her lipstick and his sports trophies. In a certain way, reassembling their life together and, simultaneously, archiving her own history and memories, these really are portraits – portraits in absence.
/written by Colm Tobin/

‘I am afraid that when their house is clear of these objects – objects that remind me of the minutiae of our last trips, exchanges and incidents – I may be unable to recall the details. I am trying to weave a safety net out of the threads of these memories, trying to make of it something more solid.’

I stepped into her shoes. I became that person she always wanted me to be.
Standing in her kitchen, the sacred place of things that could not be touched, in front of me her private drawer of pieces of paper with ‘things’ written on them, with her cooking utensils, measuring spoons and culinary implements. Drawers which always required her permission to open were now mine.
What were all these things for? Why where there so many different containers, vessels for cooking, dishes in a complex range of shapes and sizes? Why a person who chose everything so carefully and with a function in mind should have all these objects so selected and collected and laid out in this manner?
It was not until a year after she died, almost to the day, when I opened Florence Greenberg and Evelyn Rose, the two great classical Jewish cookbooks to which she referred constantly, the more used and marked pages, a clue to those recipes which were most often consulted.
I started to cook in order to recreate all the foods that she had so lovingly and carefully created with such style for my father, in hope that feeding him with their particular taste, similarity, and familiarity would make him eat and keep him alive.
Everything has a use; every plate comes to life as I cook for hours in my own clumsy way. Every possible dish has its own pot. In spirit she stands inside me, my hands her hands. I peel, chop and stir my way into her memory.

written on 29 July 2007, on the 10th anniversary of the death of my mother, Mona Stein

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