The Gift of life is Thine

Titles

'The gift of life is thine' is an ongoing project. It is comprised of multiple works, each with a graphical title that references public symbols of newborn babies. Such signs exist for instructional use and are ubiquitous within regulated public spaces (airports, hospitals, restrooms). Although the titles reference widely understood pictograms, these symbols are rearranged by the artist in a way that renders them illegible. Their repetition alludes to the continued dissension among those appointed to define and regulate "life".

The hand-carved wooden objects are sculptural interpretations of these public signs, and the structures upon which they are placed are meant to suggest a context that balances between an old hospital nursery and a woodcarver's workshop. The carved wooden vises hold the pieces in place using pressure alone, and just like with any working vise, they can be re-adjusted.

Upon each structure stands a miniature version of the wooden piece; it is carved out of HDU (High Density Urethane), which is a material commonly used for prototyping in the world of design. This material is usually color-graded according to density– purple being the highest. These smaller pieces offer a clue to the artist's process of making.

This work is also a response to the classic yet questionable claim that making art is akin to giving birth. The word "labour" is silent here, yet due to its double meaning it is at the center of this work. It pairs the skill of woodworking, a traditionally masculine practice, with the experience of childbirth. The artist is a woman of childbearing age, yet as a maker she favors woodcarving because it is currently her most prized skill. No matter how painstaking the labor of her art, it will never be anything like the process of childbirth– not even symbolically. The absurdity of her "labouring" is amplified through senseless repetition.

"The gift of life is thine" is a line pulled from the beginning of Disney's animated film Pinnocchio (1940). The notion of gifting life implies free will, but who is the bearer of this gift?


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