I create installations and sculptural memorials inspired by my past. Using a variety of media, I cast domestic items in transparent resin and plaster, or hand build them out of paper, ceramic clay, and carefully arranged piles of charcoal dust. Everything is frozen in an uncanny state of half-decay or disappearance, echoing my attempts to regain control of my own narrative amidst change and loss. My art practice is informed by both my personal history and research on grief. I have observed that people can have wildly different experiences when grieving the same loss, and differing coping mechanisms that often conflict. I have learned to respect others’ perspectives and reexamine my own behavior. After analyzing my findings through writing and discussion, I integrate them into my personal story through creative physical labor. This process transforms stories of confusion, anger, and hurt to those of understanding, empathy, and acceptance. By sharing my own story through my art, I seek to encourage and normalize open conversations around grief and loss. Recently, I have expanded my art practice to include more collaborative projects that teach me to push through feelings of discomfort as I relinquish control and learn to trust others--a recipe for resilience. My current project "Ghost Tike: A Collective Memorial" is an ongoing art installation meant to directly engage the grief community by creating opportunities for open dialog, connection, and creative collaboration.Want to contact? email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Talking about grief and loss was already difficult for people, but now we are not able to gather in-person for funerals, memorial services, and grief support groups. Art exhibitions, classes, and cultural events have also largely been canceled or moved online. As a result, we are forced to do all of our work, whether it’s professional, creative, or grief-related, all in isolation at home.
My project “Ghost Tike: A Collective Memorial” is a way of providing opportunities for people to feel heard, connect with others, be creative, and be a part of something during this challenging moment of extreme isolation and collective grief. It’s also an opportunity to help support the United States Postal Service!
I am inviting people to help me hand-make Japanese Maple leaves out of paper for my on-going installation, Ghost Tike. I began the project in honor of my late younger brother, Andrew, who died at the age of nine more than 20 years ago. I invite others to make these leaves in honor of their dead loved ones, and write their names on them. Though their leaves will be individually featured on my online memorial page, they will also be added to the art installation. Like an untended ruin or cemetery plot, the leaves will accumulate over days, weeks, months, and years, so that each time the piece is exhibited the amount of leaves will have increased.
People can make and send these leaves to me on their own, but they are also invited to join my online leaf-making events where they can learn more about my work and the Ghost Tike project, make some leaves in the virtual company of others, and then share them with each other.
See more information here: https://caitlin-caito-stewart.com/ghosttike-acollectivememorialproject/about-ghost-tike/