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Katie Vivian

This installation reflects on my personal experiences of loss, grieving and the process of healing. Throughout my life, loss and grief have, unfortunately, played a large role. Having experienced the loss of my father when I was 16 years old and my mother just a few months ago, art has become a coping strategy as I heal from the trauma and grief I have experienced. It has also allowed me to release some of the thoughts and emotions I usually keep to myself in relation to each of my parents’ passings.

The materials gathered for this work are derived primarily from personal objects and remnants that I have found in my house in the process of doing the typical necessary things that follow from the death of a family member; including some materials that were owned or gifted to me by my parents. Like Maryanne Casasanta I am attempting to move forward and process grief through physical movement involved with creating an artwork. The repetitive and tedious tasks involved with the creation of this installation allow my mind to wander to memories of my parents. These tasks, like cutting photos and winding yarn around objects allow me to release tension through the physical activity involved without needing to pause and think too much about the next steps. Like Barb Hunt and Germaine Koh, I am using yarn as a way of mourning the loss of my parents and recording the duration of the grieving process. Each piece of yarn and cut photograph records a moment in my own healing process. The repetitive and durational aspects of the work providing a visual representation of the long process of healing from loss.

This installation serves as a sort of memorial to my parents. I find comfort in knowing that I have many memories of each of my parents that I will cherish and share for the rest of my life. As Kellie Korducki wrote in “Moving through Grief”, “The memorial says: “I remember.” In the same breath, and a little louder, it says: “I’m still here to tell the story”. Through this body of work, I am immortalizing my parents and sharing pieces of their lives. Although they are gone, I am comforted in the fact that I can share their stories and keep their spirits alive in that sense. The installation is set up to allow viewers to take their time to explore each of the objects and their components. I intend it to be a space that entices a calm reflection on the lives of our loved ones that are no longer with us.

The experience of loss and grief can often leave a person feeling as though nobody can truly understand how they are feeling. Even though death is something that everyone experiences at some point in their lives, it can cause people to feel very alone. Through this installation, I hope to inspire thought and conversation regarding loss and grieving. People are free to explore the space in quiet contemplation or discuss their own feelings as they wish. I hope viewers will walk away with a sense of peace and comfort having reflected on the memories they get to keep of their own loved ones.

Queen's University. Bachelor of Fine Arts Graduation Class of 2020