permission to grieve

“During the global pandemic, personal grief has increased for the entire Capital Regional District community, as individuals have, and currently, are mourning things like losing their job, deaths, and just everyday changes and routines that are now lost. These major life events are uprooting individual’s once grounded existence and causing grief to happen in isolated ways.” from Integrate Art Society publicity for the project Permission to Grieve.

The Integrate Art Society based in Victoria British Columbia Canada, sought out local emerging artists for two related projects around the themes of grief, mourning, and healing. Integrate had provided social practice workshops, titled Permission to Grieve, throughout the months of June and July 2021.

The Permission to Grieve project published a zine containing of personal stories, poems, paintings, pieces of advice, interviews, drawing, and photographs around the themes of grief, mourning, and healing. The chapbook was printed in a limited run in November/December 2021.

Integrate Art Society also commissioned two new art objects as Memento Mori, which acknowledge the presence of grief during our time of pandemic and political challenges. These objects are alternatives to some now fading traditions, such as wearing black or white when someone is mourning. Two artists were selected; I was honoured to be one of them.

I chose to make a series of one-of-a-kind scarves. A scarf was chosen as my object as so much of our sadness is held in our throats when words are not enough. These art scarves feature studies of roses in expressive lines and dark tones to represent our difficult times. The roses are from my neighbourhood and are hand-painted upon pure silk.  

Silk holds its history, every squeeze and stress leaves its mark. There are techniques to remove the evidence of imperfection but I value the wrinkles that remain after the making process. These hand painted scarves are a reminder of how fragile we are, and how softness and sadness are signs of life being present no matter what. Wearing them helps us remember to attend to our hearts. The scarves wrap and protect our throats that may not have found the words to speak for our experience.
I am grateful to @integrateartsoc for making it possible to produce this work