Last night I spent time looking through some old family photos and books. In particular, I cherish the portraits of my grandfather, a veteran of the First World War, young and handsome in his military uniform. And I love leafing through the many beautiful books once read and loved by my mother-in-law, a survivor of the Second World War. Both now gone, but speaking to me through words and images on a page.
Photos, letters, books. They are just things. But they are things that connect us.
Reminders not just of those we’ve loved and lost — but who we are, where we came from, and where we are going.
This beautiful film by Canadian artist/designer Stephen Kenn explores this emotional connection between things and people from the past: “The significant act of passing an object on from one generation to the next. It is in this exchange, accompanied by words of wisdom, that a boy is often called to a life of courage.”
Such a beautiful bit of film making and writing: “I am there, in the light through the branches and I am loving you where I see you. I must go now. All my love forever and ever, dad.”
Kenn repurposes old military objects/clothes to make furniture and leather bags. He is inspired by war veterans (his grandfather is a vet), and the desire to keep alive the “stories inherent in vintage WWII military fabrics”.
His work is the embodiment of that generation’s can-do spirit. And I can’t think of a better way to honour them.
Find out more about about Stephen Kenn and his film here.