Loss Ritual

Installation shots of my work for Handshake 3: Reflect at the Dowse Art Museum


Kathryn Yeats

Kathryn Yeats is interested in rituals of loss, which often include the use of jewellery. For this installation, she has created a grieving ritual that stems from her own experience of miscarriage, a form of loss which is seldom acknowledged in the public realm.

The items on the shelf are made by Yeats to reflect a mother’s understanding of her baby both before it is born and after the very difficult experience of having a miscarriage. Her objects also refer to the idea of constructed personhood—considering a person based on their relationships rather than physical presence.  She says, “pregnancy loss is like grieving a person because of the connections between family members which exist before birth.”

To extend the idea of dealing with personal loss, Yeats invites anyone to sit with her installation, view the instructions on the small screen in the coffee table and make a finger knitted wreath.  In doing so, the artist provides us with a quiet space, where we can use the process of making to contemplate loss, or remember a lost loved one. At the end of the process, you are welcome to leave your wreath behind in a gesture of support, or take it with you as a memento.

Reflect Exhibition Text by Sian van Dyk


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