2015. Installation: Interactive space of silence; Photographic acrylic perspex prints, seat & video projections
Garden for Marius
The Garden for Marius installation formed part of the third and final showcase of the A.M. (After Midnight) exhibition, hosted by Lizamore & Associates galley in February 2015.
In 2010, my brother Marius is diagnosed with brain cancer and our family's world as we know it comes to an end. Long before he passes three years later, long before the De Jagers have a new identity thrust upon them (son-less, brother-less family of five, not six), our family ties are redefined and forged anew. As bewilderment and grief tell a new story of who we are as individuals, as a family unit, as human beings, as mortals, an indescribable and unconditional love grows between us.
During Marius's brief period of remission, we experience moments of life, love and grace that we will cherish forever. We build puzzles together, bake cookies, make mosaics, plant flowers. All the superficiality of the days we have taken for granted deserts us. We sink into a being with each other that is boundlessly pure in intimacy.
In 2013, Marius leaves us. He is outlived by his father Chris, his mother Bets, his older sister Melanie, and two younger sisters, Reinette and myself.
My mother and father sit at Marius's grave some months later, on what would have been his 37th birthday. We have come to plant our garden for him. The transient qualities of time, space and memory are distilled in an inconsolable moment of realisation: my parents have lost their child and their only son.
The simplest captured image conveys the brokenness of a family bereaved. My mother's brave attempt at a smile is a counterpoint to the unspeakable sadness in her husband's face. The outlines of a desolate landscape are blurred by tears. We have come to tend our little plot of tragedy amidst so many others. We are at once utterly disconnected from the rest of the world yet bound up with it in this experience of grief that no one escapes forever. Nothing that was important to us before will ever have the same significance again.
Since the loss of my brother two years ago, my art has been dedicated to an exploration of the fleeting and ephemeral nature of our existence. I unravel and re-express memories as traces of light which are fragments of a greater whole. I am supported and made real by the chance encounters in my world that either resonate and linger, or are seen and forgotten.