Lotus Firebay

Enhancing the Lotus mission of creating opportunities to experience, celebrate, and explore the diversity of the world's cultures, through music and the arts.

105 S. Rogers St.     

Bloomington, IN 47405 

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Featured Exhibit

The exhibit is free and open to the public.

December 2, 2022


Justin A. Carney


Those Left Behind

    Those Left Behind is my journey to understand the grief of my family members and I, after the death of my grandmother, their mother. I question what bonds keep us together as well as drive us to separate.

    My grandmother, Michal Louise Carney, was at the center of all our lives. She still is the center. Her death has shifted the dynamics of my family, one that I took for granted. It has changed how often we see each other, for how long, where, and in what context, and it has shifted the amount of effort it takes to get everyone together. Our connection has been fractured. 

    My work focuses on a struggle with loss, coping with grief, as well as the joys of being alive and the intimate moments spent with family. Those Left Behind not only shows the effects of death but also visualizes a celebration of life. In capturing those intimate moments with family, as ordinary as they may appear, there is a realization of unity, of togetherness that death may change but never fully take away. 

    It is our joys, and it is our pains that keep us together, not only specifically for my family but for all of us. Joy and grief walk hand in hand to shape who we are and to connect us. We are individuals but our life is not our own. Though we may believe we are alone and sometimes try our best to be alone, we cannot escape being connected.

    After the death of my grandmother, I recognized that I don’t want to be alone, and because of my process of photographing and interviewing my family, and rummaging through old family albums, I noticed the nuances of our family bonds and the differences between when my grandmother was alive and after her passing. I began learning about my family as individuals, not simply as my mother, my uncles, and my aunt but also as daughters and sons, and as people. I believe that due to that process, they also feel less alone.  

    This project exists as a healing component for me and my family. By showing these moments of joy and pain, the photographs allow others to find similarities within their own family and life and find a deeper appreciation for their relationships.

Artist Bio

Justin A. Carney uses autobiographical photography to question how death and grief affect familial connections—the bonds that keep a family together and cause them to separate, and how those bonds shape an individual. He is originally from Baltimore, Maryland, and is currently pursuing his MFA in Photography at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is the recipient of the Bloomington Arts Commission 2022 Emerging Artist Grant. He has been awarded the Reva Shiner Memorial Award from the 2022 National Society of Arts and Letters Competition and the Best in Show Award in the 2020 Emerging Vision, Colorado Photographic Arts Center Biennial Student Show. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.

Lotus is looking for artists to exhibit their work. If you are an artist or know one that wants to exhibit for a First Friday Gallery Walk at Lotus Firebay, please email exhibits@lotusfest.org or call 812-336-6599 for questions.

The Lotus Firebay is a wheelchair accessible venue from the entrance off of S Rogers Street.

Free parking is available on 4th Street, across Rogers Street from the Lotus Firebay.

Limited parking is also free in the bank parking lot behind the Lotus Firebay starting at 5:00 p.m. M-F and all day on Saturday and Sunday.

If you are an artist or know one that wants to exhibit for a First Friday Gallery Walk at Lotus Firebay, please email exhibits@lotusfest.org or call 812-336-6599 for questions