My father died from cancer in 2007, at age 64. Only three months passed between diagnosis and death, and those months and the following years were emotionally charged and often isolating. But through that experience—through his death—came life. Something was born within me, and I began to create around it.
Dying and grief are universal human experiences—we’ll all be lost at times in the darkness of loss, we’ll suffer through the deaths of those we care for and eventually will face our own. Yet talk about these things gets buried under the weight of cultural and social taboos—and held tight within our individual emotional distress. Within this silence is lost opportunity for connection and understanding, for collective growth. And creativity.
I’ve longed to get people talking about death, grief
This project began with a spark—an imagined painting about a specific moment in the dying process—and was built around narrative paintings. But I’ve come to recognize that it is incredibly useful, necessary even, to have a counterbalance to the heavy human emotion entangled with difficult topics, and thus the project grows. Close observations and written and visual studies of a habitat or landscape’s transitory nature will take this project beyond the human experience to our connection to life cycles in the wider world. Transitions in nature provide a side door to enter into a dialogue about death, and provide respite within the discussion.