Turbine Art Fair, 2019

Earth to earth, stone to stone, dust to dust

Artist Statement:

Picking up the pieces” is a work that talks about the consequence of collecting yourself after tragedy and dealing with the wreck that is left behind. I started this work when I was trying to process the sudden heartbreaking loss of my mom, in October 2018.  I felt my life was in pieces, and slowly I had to start picking up these pieces, but every time you pick up a piece, it has a consequence. 

This is also the last work in which Benon Lutaaya, my friend and mentor, had an input. Benon had always told me that my hanging rock installation I made the year before, called “The sum of its parts” was his absolute favourite work of mine.  He encouraged me to make more work like this, “works that have mystery”, he would say. I was busy working on “Picking up the pieces” with Benon in preparation for the 1-54 New York Art Fair when I received the news of his passing.  From then on, when I dealt with the pieces as I created them, I mourned for both my mom and for Benon.  During this mourning period, I used my interaction with the rocks as a meditative and investigative process.

The pieces in this installation is made from bronze impurities.  I noticed them years ago at a bronze foundry, and even though they were seen as rejects, I thought their formation to be beautiful. During the process of working with these objects, I set out to find the bits of valuable bronze within them. Using my Dremel hand tool, I started a timer when this search began and stopped it when I found a solid piece of bronze. I would then prepare this bronze surface, sanding and polishing it, until it was ready to be engraved. I then engraved the recorded time into the polished surface. 

Some pieces were easier than others, but they were nonetheless very difficult to work with due to the aggressive texture of them. When I completed this process, my hands were bleeding and trembling, full of little cuts and scratches. For me, this was the consequence of dealing with each piece. For the viewer, the consequence is that of time. When you bend down and pick up a rock to examine it, the rock will take the amount of time that is engraved into it, to float back to its starting position close to the ground. When picking up the pieces, there will always be a consequence, whether it is visceral or physical, but the rewards of going through the process, will always outweigh the consequence.