Hannah Collum is an artist based out of Lexington, South Carolina. Born in Colorado, she spent her early childhood in Saudi Arabia before moving to South Carolina with her family in 1996. Her experiences living overseas allowed her to travel the world, which permanently instilled in her a love of different cultures. As a result, her work often reflects themes of journey and spatial exploration. Hannah graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in art history and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art-photography. She has exhibited in various group shows throughout the state of South Carolina and was included in the juried student exhibition, “The View from Here,” at the Columbia Museum of Art; this show opened in conjunction with Annie Leibovitz’s exhibit, “Pilgrimage.” Today we look at her series, The Badger.
As a child, I was fascinated with my maternal grandparents’ story of fleeing Hungary. I had a romanticized notion of them happily carrying their suitcases from one side of a line to another, as if they could have done so at any time. To me, their story was one of wanderlust and adventure. Being so young, it was difficult for me to comprehend why anyone would need or want to sneak across their country’s border.
When I grew older, I realized that my grandparents’ actions were that of necessity and survival. Having come from a diplomatic background, my grandmother’s entire way of life was eradicated with the rise of Communism following World War II. She endured internal deportation and eventually escaped Hungary with my grandfather during the Communist Revolution of 1956.
Fondly nicknamed the Badger by her children and grandchildren, my grandmother is an example of strength and perseverance. Through her stories, I’ve learned that she has maintained a fondness for her life in Hungary and has gracefully circumvented a potentially bitter attitude towards the events that led her to leave her home for America.
This project developed out of a desire to document the history of my family and to understand the history of a particular generation. It is an exploration of the unique integration of her life from the Old World, her resourcefulness developed during deportation, and her Americanization after coming to this country over 50 years ago.
It is Hannah’s hope to eventually begin a second phase of this project that will allow her to travel to Hungary to document various significant locations from her grandmother’s past. To view more of Hannahs work please visit her website.