PICKING UP THE PIECES
I've been fascinated with old, worn things for years, and I love the challenge to find new ways to showcase the beauty, history and mystery surrounding these precious objects. Through the process of collection, reflection, and creation, I've discovered more about myself, our society, and our planet, but I never imagined it would become so personal.
When I was 16, my father committed suicide. My family was angry, confused, and embarrassed so they packed up everything that was a reminder of him. I harbored memories, a few treasures, and photos, but I was left with the nagging feeling that none of us really knew him.
Imagine my shock when I was given a cardboard box of my father’s belongings 26 years after his tragic death. I found letters, jewelry, ties, and lots of clues that revealed a very different person than who I remembered. I began using these pieces to reconstruct his life so that I could finally make peace with the past.
By connecting these emotionally charged objects with historical documents, I am creating a new portrait of my father. The work, at times emotional and at times distant, picks at the scars of suicide and examines father/daughter relationships. It also illustrates the faultiness of memory and what people conceal in order to protect. By sharing this secret that I’ve held too long, I hope to start conversations about mental health, memory, and identity and to help others find a way through loss and grief.