Mourning What Never Was

Memento
Memento

White Earthenware tray 9in. x 9in. x 2in.

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Into the Jaws of Death
Into the Jaws of Death

White Earthenware 9in diameter

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Life Goes On
Life Goes On

White earthenware plate 7in.

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The Cost of Freedom (Front)
The Cost of Freedom (Front)

White Earthenware 8in tall

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The Cost of Freedom (Transitional Point)
The Cost of Freedom (Transitional Point)

White Earthenware 8in tall

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The Cost of Freedom (back)
The Cost of Freedom (back)

White Earthenware 8in tall

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I'm Still Here
I'm Still Here

White Earthenware serving tray 9in. x 4in.

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A New Normal (front)
A New Normal (front)

White Earthenware 6in. tall 5in. wide

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A New Normal (Back)
A New Normal (Back)

White Earthenware 6in. tall 5in. wide

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Statement

My hometown was known for a lot of things, but the most damming was the drug epidemic. We grew up constantly hearing about the dangers of substance abuse nearly everyday. As a child, I always thought that was a distant problem from me, until I stumbled into my parent’s room, catching them with a plate of white powder. I tried to forget that image, but it was seared into my mind and my innocence had been shattered. What followed were six years of heartbreak and fear. I was trapped in a cold, dark house with no food, left to babysit my two younger brothers for sometimes days at a time. I was only twelve. 

 

Mourning What Never Was is a narrative series discussing my childhood and adulthood ravaged by addiction. I use an illustrative style painted with underglaze and symbols to represent different figures in my life. For example, the red fox represents myself since I associate closely with that animal, and my father is the skeletal fox since I resemble him in so many ways, but his addiction and abusive behavior has corrupted him. Most of the forms in the series are serving vessels, meant for a large family dinner, a normal and intimate thing I haven’t experienced because of addiction.

 

The series can be easily split into two eras, childhood and adulthood. Childhood focuses on my parents’ relationship and me and my siblings’ struggles. We didn’t get to be kids really, especially me and my oldest brother. Our other brother was only three when this had started, so we felt a powerful urge to protect and take care of him where our parents failed. We wanted him to have a semblance of normalcy and get to be a kid.The childhood era really ends when my brothers move out, years after I. 

 

Adulthood focuses on deep seated feelings of betrayal and grief. As we grew up, we realized how messed up our upbringing was, and started to blame our parents, who were clean by this point. But at the same time, we started to understand they weren’t just one-sided selfish people who didn’t care about us. They had problems that led them to addiction, and were just as human as us. For me, adulthood is trying to repair relations, and have the daughter-parent relationship we never had. For my brothers, it’s trying to forget what happened and live a normal life.

 

Mourning What Never Was is meant to be a healing work for me, finally confronting these feelings I’ve kept inside and secret for too long. It is also meant to be a comfort for those going through addiction or through what I did, showing that wounds can still heal and this isn’t the end. Things do get better, this I promise.