Heartbreak Object: Taboos, then, have an all-encompassing quality

I was donated the book Anal Pleasure and Health by Jack Morin as part of my project An Investigation of Heartbreak and Grief.  The owner of the book met me for coffee and we talked about the symbolism of this book in his life, and why it’s important to him.

In his early 30s he had the realization that he was bisexual, and his family was not accepting of his sexual identity. His niece (who was in her 20s) gave him her book as a token of acceptance. Shortly thereafter, she was killed in a car accident.

This book sat on my shelf for six months while I tried to work out how to honour it. Unlike many of my objects, this object is born from grief and not heartbreak. The subject matter was difficult to tackle: Self acceptance of his own sexuality, and trying to have the acceptance of those closest to you. This was difficult to integrate with the loss of a family member and to have the message clearly shown to the viewer without a huge amount of didactic information, so I decided to split it up.

These embroideries came on some adventures this summer. It seemed fitting for a story about showing yourself to be made out in the world. This trio and the progress photos are about sexuality and acceptance, with work about grief to come.

The book’s owner expressed feeling a weight lifting slowly from not having the book, but at first felt apprehensive about me destroying it. It was his niece in his mind- what he had left of her. He has since expressed feeling like it’s been lifted from him, and gave me permission to alter the book in further investigations. What an incredible compliment to give, and an awe inspiring donation to the project.

Taboos, Then, Have an All-Encompassing Quality, 2017. Silk, Cotton, Paper

Aspects of a Person’s Sexuality are Established Early in Life, 2017. Silk, Cotton, Paper

Self Loving People Have Greater Internal Resources to Draw Upon, 2017. Silk, Cotton, Paper

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