My Father's Throat
This is a vessel for grief, a place for memories. It is the butterfly of the thyroid at the base of the throat. It is a leaky boat from a story told to me when I was young.
My Father’s Throat is a memorial to my father who died in February 2020 from throat cancer. The waxed yarn is taken from one of his sweaters. The base is made of found wood, painted red at the center cut. The white wood that extends from the base can be read as the true vocal folds, the yarn as the ridges of the trachea—a representation of the center of my father’s cancer—or as the butterfly shape of the thyroid gland—the location of one of my own chronic illnesses. The shape can also be interpreted as a boat, one to carry the mourner over a sea of grief. The shape is intentionally ambiguous so the viewer can see what they need to see.
Lockdowns after my father’s death prevented an in person memorial. The sculpture along with the film is my attempt at engaging in a process that could fill the space left empty due to pandemic restrictions. My father was a set designer for theatre. In making this piece, I intentionally used materials and techniques I associate with my father at a size that is almost theatrical.
The film that accompanies the sculpture explores the process of creating a piece of art as a memorial and the memories that arise during the act of making.
My Father's Throat will be shown as a part of the At A Loss project at Art Central Gallery in Barry, Wales October 7th through January 6th 2024.