This series of work called Muse is based on private collections and objects we keep and treasure as aides memoire. National collections are kept in museums and galleries and our private collections are kept, in less strict order, in drawers around our home.
Museum is derived from the Greek word muse, which means to ponder or to meditate on something. Muse, as a synonym, is inspiration or stimulus or creative impulse. The contents of my drawers were my creative impulse for the body of work Muse and each drawer reminds me of the cabinets of artefacts in a museum.
The importance of memories and aides memoire is evident when homes are devoured by fire or gutted by water. Those affected often grab photographs or an object of sentimental value rather than something they can replace. Sentimental items are the items most mourned when lost. Would we mourn the loss of these items less if we had a photograph of them? Would having a photograph help the feeling of loss or would it represent loss and perpetuate loss.
Important influences for my work were Olivia Parker’s Under the Looking Glass and Salvador Dali’s City of Drawers. The greatest influence was Jana Napoli’s Floodwall – a monumental display of six hundred drawers from the devastation after Hurricane Katrina. Napoli chose the drawers because “All the physical evidence [of the people who lived in the city], including photographs, paintings, and letters, was gone,” she says, “so all the things we found in these drawers were sacred.”