Installation, 2017

At first, things were okay...

Together, we often found ourselves engaged in the creative process - she too was an artist in her own right. Every year for my birthday we would build piñatas from scratch using cardboard, flour, water, tissue paper, and paint. Additionally, we would put together a Christmas village after constructing papier-mâché mountaintops and sprinkling them with faux snow. Everything was lovely once. Until, one day, the blinds no longer opened:

She was tired.

She withdrew.

I always knew something wasn't right at home but it became my duty to stay silent. "Nobody likes a rat," I was told. And when yet another microwave went missing from the kitchen counter, mom would carry on about how it had broken.

Cigarette smoke hung heavy always, but not as heavy as the silence that accompanied opiate comas or the nauseating fear of being found out and taken away.

I was tired too.

This work is not necessarily an accurate account of my childhood, rather a reconstruction of a persistent memory. The pieces in this installation have been accumulated over several months and then altered to symbolize the effects of illicit drugs on the mind. The tarnishing of the furniture then, mirrors the subsequent destruction of the nuclear family. Both structure and sound have been carefully considered in order to transport spectators into the haunting, nostalgic depths of this sort of experience. The purpose of this work is to spread awareness about substance use disorder and its effect on family relationships. This artwork is also intended to pay tribute to my mother - the one who truly taught me that art could heal. This disease and the implications it has on the lives of families is what drew me to the field of art therapy. Mom, this one's for you.