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A Family Matter memorializes the lives of 30 women from the state of Minnesota. In 2009, these women died at the hands of a current or former intimate partner. Separately, each dress in the installation is a beautiful object, representing the utopian vision girls and women have in respect to love and marriage. From a distance, the dresses look innocent and beautiful. Moving closer subtle differences emerge; one has a tear in the skirt, another a cigarette burn in the chest, and another wire thorns in the collar. Each dress is disfigured uniquely, just like the destroyed lives of these women. Juxtaposing the innocence and sweetness of the dresses with depictions of violence transforms each of the dresses that usually provide comfort into an object with tortured and vulnerable qualities. Each dress is in essence a page in a haunting narrative. It is my goal to bring awareness to the global dilemma of domestic violence and to show the instability, violence, and endangerment that underlie such relationships.

A Family Matter
2010
Handmade gampi, thread, glass, wire
Individual dress approximately 6.5" x 5" x 3" (16.6 cm x 12.7 cm x 7.6 cm)
Photo Credit: Petronella Ytsma

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