Why the anger? Why the dishes?
It began during an Easter dinner. As a young girl, I wondered about my family and these elaborate dishes. I eventually inherited the dishes and set them aside.
In 2015 I delved into grief and loss. There had been the deaths in my family: a stillborn, an infant, my brother’s death caused by an impaired driver, my sister’s suicide, my father’s death, and now my mother’s. Two close friends had also died from cancer.
Suddenly I felt ANGRY. I had just gone through my sister’s belongings in another attempt to piece together the last week of her life and the contributing factors in her suicide. New information about her medication and her repressed sexual orientation unleashed a powerful and motivating anger.
This project, dedicated to my deceased sister, celebrates anger, freedom, and the breaking down of barriers. While expressing her own anger may not have set my sister free, this work is related to her inability to break away and to express her legitimate yet suppressed anger.
The work is inspired by cultures and subcultures freely expressing themselves and effectively bringing anger into their politics, their lyrics, their music, their poetry, and their art.
The family dishes and an earlier idea resurfaced, one where dishes would be broken.
A table was set for an orchestrated breaking of eight of twelve place settings.
The video of an animated human heart represented what was not shared about my life and my sister’s journey.
Text incorporated into a background wall celebrated motivating anger that is justified, timely and well directed.
Friends, interested parties and casual passersby witnessed my breaking these dishes. Some of us drank wine and ate red velvet cupcakes chosen for their color as much as their taste.
It was intimate yet very public. Guests asked questions and shared their own stories about anger, family, dishes, loss, even suicide.
In thanking the witnesses, I thought of how anger is universal yet it touches us individually and uniquely. I thought of Aristotle’s reference:
“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time… that is not within everybody’s power and it is not easy.”
I will continue to explore the themes of grief, loss, and suicide. Many of the dishes were not broken. These may find their way into subsequent works while it is the broken china pieces that intrigue me now.
It took a village
With thanks for their fine work and support:
Joss maclennan Design, Denise Maxwell, Michelle Gay, Sean Wickett, One Girl Design, Jennifer Rowsom, Smart Digital Centre, 2001 Audio Video, Alternative Arts, Danny Vilneff, Vince Lai, Sean Lee, le dolci, dodesign 2016 & Trinity Bellwoods on Dundas.
Bruce & friends for being there.
Bev Hisey for the space.
Agnes for the dishes.