mixed media, variable dimensions, 2018.

    We associate memories of loved ones onto objects. We dedicate gifts, artworks and songs to people who are special to us. We keep movie tickets and old t-shirts to remind us of happy memories. They become inanimate placeholders for moments we feel most alive. What happens when they are no longer a part of our lives? What do we do with these remnants? Sometimes the memories of these objects are too painful to keep.
    I kept a collection of items from my last relationship that I struggled to let go of because letting go meant moving on. It was my first experience of bringing someone into my world, and I never wanted to let go. She was my muse, the center of my life. Everything revolved around her. It took a lot of time for me to reconcile with the conclusion of the relationship. Closely holding onto these objects gave me a false sense of security that she was still present. To move on, I needed to let go.
    I gathered all the objects that reminded me of her, set up a small trash bin in my backyard, and built up the courage to burn them all; Polaroids capturing our intimate moments, old gallery tickets from our first date, and, carrying the most weight, a series of paintings I dedicated and named after her. Everything laid beneath a burning candle. When I put out the flames, I looked in the bin and saw blue fragments had left a mesmerizing image. I took out my camera and photographed the remains.
    This gesture was a relieving one. I no longer have physical reminders of our past. After seeing the ruins in the fire, it allowed me to step back and appreciate the relationship, in addition to allowing me to move forward. Epilogue is the image I saw within the remnants of a past–unbearably heartbreaking, but beautiful nonetheless.