“Here we be” by Megan Hatch | Awards Collective GalleryTalk
The Awards Collective was created to feature the works of artist who have received a Juror’s Award or Director’s Award in ASG’s Online exhibitions. Megan Hatch’s image “A Ladder to the Sky“ received the Juror’s Award in the “common objects” exhibition juried by Doug Beasley. Megan’s exhibition “Here we be” was featured from February 1 to February 29 , 2024 and is discussed in our GalleryTalk with Megan.
According to the Oxford English dictionary, hope can be defined as “a feeling of trust.” In the past, I’ve described hope as my superpower. It’s a sinewy hope we’re talking about: I grew up rural, queer, and too quiet about what hurt. Now I’m finding that sometimes you have to leave hope behind. For instance, I will never carry a child in my body. I feel betrayed, not by my body, but by hope. How can you give up and carry on at the same time? As I started exploring this question, I found myself working with images that quite unexpectedly reminded me of the months after my mother passed.
It turns out that the heart of my question and of this body of work is grieving. In my experience, grieving is the way in which you find yourself anew in a place that is also radically altered. Getting there often involves looking for a way out, looking for the thing you lost, and/or just lying on the floor weeping because the pull of gravity is too much. You come undone, and pass through days like a ghost. In this permeable state, you also start to feel how the world keeps reaching out to you. That reaching? That, to me, is hope. It is the world reminding me that I am a part of it, and it is a part of me.
So this is the answer to my question: hope doesn’t come from within me and it exists independent of any outcome. It is in the letting go and the carrying on. My mother wrote a haiku, only one line of which I can now remember: “Death gives rise to wings.” What I think she was talking about is the way that letting go allows us to rise to meet the present. This is the moment that will see us through, not all the ones that came before or any possibility of one to come. My mom was pretty sinewy too.
Sometimes the present moment is a hard one. As I complete this work, things that we hoped for and even saw manifest are being taken away—bodily autonomy, trans & queer rights, affirmative action. I will continue to hope that we will find our way, not in spite of the grief I feel, but with it.
Megan Hatch, 2023
Megan Hatch (she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist and curator living in Portland, Oregon. She is a recent recipient of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers (2023),
and a Critical Mass Finalist (2022). Her work has been exhibited internationally and is in collections both private and corporate.
I’ve loved making art my entire life. As a budding photographer, the tool I had at hand was a disposable camera and I waited with breathless anticipation for the prints to show up in the mail. I
eventually graduated to a film camera, and my hands still remember the satisfying click of the shutter release. Today I work in a digital format and the childhood thrill remains.
Regardless of medium or discipline, the arts are powerful. The joy I experience as an artist is why I’m here today; it’s seen me through. After earning a BA in Studio Art from Carleton College, I
have spent many years creating work, teaching art in communal spaces, and curating exhibitions in sometimes nontraditional environments. My experiences of growing up rural, working class, and queer created a deep desire to help make the arts accessible to a broader range of folks than typically find themselves, or at least comfortably so, in mainstream spaces.
I can’t not make art. I know, deep down, that art is essential to our collective thriving. It’s how we’re going to find our way.