' meet me at the grit bin '
Kaya Fraser grew up moving between two of Perth’s schemes, North Muirton and Potterhill. Using her practice to celebrate such spaces, memorialising them almost, Fraser is taking back their unfair portrayal and underrepresention.
Telephone booths sit next to stairwells, playgrounds beside road signs, dilapidated fences with roofing tiles; all film photographs snapped by Fraser across her two home estates. These newer shots, taken over the course of the nation's first lockdown, are interspersed with family photographs and ephemera, dating back to 1957. Little Kaya sits on a red brick wall, a blue robed relative leans over a stainless steel sink preparing vegetables, a young man sits topless in a deck chair cradling a small newborn child. These are all human centric compositions yet they stand as some of the only physical representations of people throughout the book. Fraser has made a clear choice here to document streets and homes without documenting people physically, and yet there are clear signs of life. A pair of shoes are left lingering at a doorstep, building materials lean, haphazardly, outside of a corner shop, a football is flung through the air - these notes are constant and yet fleeting.
Separating the work into sections, Fraser has created space for more than just visual representations of her communities. In share the scran two recipes for stovies sit side by side, one signed “Love Granny xx” and another titled, satisfyingly, “Stevies Stovies”. A documentation of an often verbal history, we can see just how differently one dish can be made within the same family, and yet “all are delicious.” (Kaya Fraser, 2020)
Further scanned notes are included, be it this one written by Fraser herself. Mothers Pride has been written on shopping list paper, the kind you might come across stuck to your gran's fridge. Fed through a typewriter, the blocky font hovers just above the lines on the paper, floating on its pink background and only just touching the ornate flowers on the edging. From this description, you may assume the final poem to be flowery and overly sugary, when in fact it’s anything but. Fraser attended a writing course in Ullapool, an idyllic village on Scotland’s west coast. Whilst other participants were concerned with wild panoramas and scenic views, Fraser’s mind was drawn to Muirton, a community in the midst of redevelopment. When we discuss the, now, ex-scheme and it’s new “affordable” housing options over Zoom, Fraser is clearly frustrated: “yeah it was really rough, and it was really rundown, but it was a community” (2021). Priced out of their homes, many of Muirton’s original residents were forced to move to estates further afield, disbanding a community that had been growing since more than 600 tenement flats were demolished in the 1990s.