Award-winning artist, Francis Augusto is opening his debut exhibition ‘Songs of Love and Loss', exploring the intricate dynamics of romantic connections across "different ethnicities, different genders and different ages of love". Francis invites viewers to meditate on their experiences regarding love and loss through the memory-inducing pieces that bring introspections of heartache and tenderness to an immersive stage.
'Songs of Love and Loss' (open from the 1st November - 4th November at Four Corners) is a commentary on the “nuanced dimensions of love and loss” in romantic interactions. "It's more than just art; it's a mirror reflecting the intricacies of human connection". Francis continues, "Love and loss are universal experiences that transcend cultural, religious, and sexual boundaries. Yet, amidst their dualistic nature, we often overlook their profound impact on our daily existence. In these partnerships, we continually experience fluctuating levels of grieving and adoration. Who or what becomes the subject of our affection or mourning is a complex interplay of countless variables. We find ourselves perpetually navigating the complex tapestry of our feelings and ventures".
Breaking down the complexities of human nature with Francis gave a peek into the events that inspired the deep dive into the beauty of "adoration" and "yearning" in a relationship. The emotions of the viewer as they journey through the exhibition are central to the debut, offering a unique opportunity for guests to engage with the feelings that arise from their memories relating to the theme.
Accepting love and loss is a heavy sentiment that many choose to avoid. However, for Francis, his reflections through this project showcase his ability to paint the human experience with an authentic openness and vulnerability.
After inquiring about the driving force of the theme and his inspirations, Francis' answer was simple, “My inspiration for the project was from my experience of love and loss in and out of a relationship. I reflect on the different levels of grief or mourning, then on the other hand, the joy you can receive in a relationship when everything goes well until something in your own life happens. It’s always interesting to dive in and understand how both counterparts deal or react in that situation. How does love still prevail? How do you still show adoration to your partner above and beyond the hard times?”.
Still, in deep thought, it's clear the theme of love and loss had a personal significance. His answer showcased vulnerability, to which Francis explains, “When I broke up with my ex, it was that experience that made me realise I didn't understand how to process the break up properly because it was my first proper breakup as an adult. The idea of losing someone that you care about? That feeling is so human. It’s such a visceral experience".
He emphasises, "It’s not just the act of breaking up but the longing after. Not being able to call them, suppressing those same feelings you had for them. Even if you leave on a cordial basis and remain friends with them, there’s still this yearning for that person - a sense of mourning that they can no longer be around you. It is that sensation which is so human and relatable to me and inspired this exhibition".
And while Francis explains his use of “secondary sources” ranging from “perceptions on conversations with friends or a film” he had seen, what hadn’t come as a surprise as he spoke was Francis’ ability to perceive, confront and communicate those same feelings through the ambience of the exhibition. The piece feels intentional, almost like a love letter. Viewers feel. They hurt. But, importantly, in the end, they heal. He continues, “I've seen moments of love shown on the street and I am always interested in the different ways love is expressed, the different ways loss is experienced and how many scenarios one can show up for somebody else or yourself in a situation of love".
But the main takeaway from his lessons of navigating the exhibition is a request, "the only thing that I want people to come away with is introspection. I want people to bring themselves, their history, their biases, and experience it together. So when they look at the photos, they question what makes them feel loved or look for what have they lost. What kind of memories do they bring and how do you interact with them? Then when you leave how do you then use these revelations in your future relationships?"
Francis makes it known that "being open to being triggered by some of the scenes and the different moments in relationships" has been challenging. Especially having "felt love and loss and accepting that that's a memory" he will have to feel. Expressing gratitude to his team, friends and family, Francis reminds us that “love shows itself in different ways across all groups” and that the human experience is an art form worth appreciating in its own right.