"At first, things were okay...
Together, we often found ourselves engaged in the creative process — she too
was an artist in her own right. Every year for my birthday we would build piñatas
from scratch using cardboard, flour, water, tissue paper, and paint. Additionally,
we would put together a Christmas village after constructing Papier-mâché
mountaintops and sprinkling them with faux snow. Everything was lovely once.
Until, one day, the blinds no longer opened:
She was tired.
I always knew something wasn’t right at home but it became my duty to stay
silent. “Nobody likes a rat,” I was told. And when yet another microwave went
missing from the kitchen counter, mom would carry on about how it had broken.
Cigarette smoke hung heavy always, but not as heavy as the silence that
accompanied opiate comas or the nauseating fear of being found out and taken
I was tired too.
My work is not necessarily an accurate account of my childhood, rather a
reconstruction of a persistent memory. The pieces in this exhibition have been
accumulated over several months and then altered to symbolize the effects of
illicit drugs on the mind. The tarnishing of the furniture then, mirrors the
subsequent destruction of the nuclear family. Both structure and sound have
been carefully considered in order to transport spectators into the haunting,
nostalgic depths of this sort of experience. The purpose of this installation is to
spread awareness about substance use disorder and its effect on family
relationships. This artwork is also intended to pay tribute to my mother — the one
who truly taught me that art could heal. This disease and the implications it has
on the lives of families is what drew me to the field of art therapy. Mom, this one's
Taylor Chamberlain recently graduated from Albertus Magnus College where she received the 2017 Bruce Sinkey Award for Excellence in Art. Having earned a BA in both Art and Psychology, she attempts to use her craft to harmonize the two.