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Arts of North America

Art created in North America includes objects made by native cultures of the present-day United States and Canada; paintings and decorative arts produced during colonial times; 18th- and 19th-century masterpieces; and the work of contemporary artists and photographers.

© The Estate of Esther Parada
AMERICAN, 1938 - 2005
Past Recovery
100 gelatin silver prints with toning

96 x 144 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Target Collection of American Photography
Gift of Target Stores

Arts of North America

Esther Parada was trained as a photographer, but her workómonumental in scale and ambitious in natureóis not traditionally photographic. In Past Recovery, she re-creates a history of her family in one work of 100 images. She transforms the traditional photo album into one manipulated photograph of a 1920 family banquet enlarged to life-size. Past Recovery is a montage of personal memories, with all states of lifeís cycle represented. The artist thus compresses time, as human memory does, to link visual references never linked in reality.

"My sister's face is juxtaposed with her own image 30 years later and with that of a great aunt whom we never met, although family legend has it that they were cast in the same mold," Parada wrote. "Similarly I see other members of that family gathering through the filter of my own cumulative experience."

To view specific works by Parada in the collection, contact the museum's Works on Paper Study Center for an appointment.