Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Living Loud: The Art of the Exposition

My nerves worked overtime at the Living Loud DC event. However, I took comfort in the embrace of my Lost Daughters sisters. My friend, Katherine, was there too, and her support in the hours before the event kept me in good spirits.

While I consider myself an extrovert, I am cautious about sharing my true thoughts until I’m confident that I am in a safe community. This event, while adoptee-focused, was an unknown. We were reading some of our most intimate thoughts … in person.

As the trollers know, it is one thing to write, tweet or blog about personal insecurities online. The worldwide web wall shelters. There’s anonymity and inherent safety.

At the reading, I felt exposed. If you look at the photos of the readers, you may notice that I used the podium. Again, I wanted a barrier, a metaphorical wall.

All my life, I have been the oddity … the freak. My voice, my face, my name draw attention. In art, I find solace. When I exhibit my work, it allows me to speak without being seen. It is my way of being intimate with a group of viewers. All eyes are on the work and not me.

Interestingly, when I show my ceramic adoption series, I expect people to pick them up, run their fingers in the deep ruts of the roots. The familial roots represent my strife and the loss of my history. Each cut in the clay is therapeutic; I long to cut through to the other side.

At Living Loud, I opened by asking the audience to touch and feel my ceramic pieces. I wanted them to understand and feel the pain I felt when I created them. Surprisingly, people did not pick them up.

After all the years of intrusive questions, judgement and ridicule, I finally earned respect. But in this instance, I wanted to share my pain. My ceramics served as a conduit to my innermost thoughts and feelings.

What I have found in the Lost Daughters is a means to speak through my writing and now through my voice. I hope that next time my pieces show up, you, dear reader, will touch them.

The beauty of this event in DC was best said by my dear LD sister, Michelle. She said, “Living Loud showed that we were women with fulfilled lives.” Indeed. We are women with children, women whose lives matter to others, and women who want the world to know that we care for others. We care for the children like ourselves, the families like ours, the mothers and fathers who have lost their children, and those mothers and fathers who understand what it is to love a child of adoption.