A Reflection of Loss and Hope
by Barbara Carroll, Grief Counsellor
A garden shed, 100 small floral paintings, and a solitary viewing experience … these are the elements that will play off each other in an art installation titled “Mother”. Conceived as a contemplative space to reflect on the theme of loss, the paintings make specific reference to one important woman in artist Jennifer Zeitz’s life, her mother who died during Covid.
Why a garden shed? “My mother’s garden was her refuge. Like many women of her generation, she found time to nurture plants, cultivate beauty as well as raise children. There has never been a more critical time to connect with things that can bring us peace,” said Jennifer.
Jennifer, and others, lost a loved one during a time that was unique in everyone’s experience. Those of us who didn’t lose a family member during Covid are lucky, for sure, but we all share part of Jennifer’s grief – those losses and that grief imposed by the context of the pandemic.
We all have had tremendous and less tangible losses over the last couple of years. We have lost our world and our place in it. We have lost our sense of safety. We have lost a good degree of control over our lives. We can no longer count on our future hopes, expectations, and dreams. We lack direction and the sense of purpose we had. We have lost our sense of security. Some of us no longer have a sense of financial security due to unemployment, and others have lost faith in an overstretched, broken healthcare system. We are not the same people.
As we shoulder the grief of these losses, we have also missed what normally eases loss and gives us the strength and courage to move through grief: the ability to connect with a support system, see family in the ways we cherish, interact with other people, and feel the comfort of their presence and their love.
Jennifer has created a beautiful, contemplative space on the theme of loss. It is a different way of reflecting on our grieving process, in keeping with our different reality. We all carry an unusual combination of losses, and we need different ways of grieving. Jennifer’s installation gives us that as we sit and reflect on our own losses, in the context of Jennifer’s expressive representation of how she experienced the loss of her mother during the pandemic.
“The arts have always been great healers,” says Jennifer. “Like gardening or singing in a choir, there are pursuits that by their nature ground and transport us. My hope is that people will find some hope and light in this space.”
The installation is meant to be experienced in solitude. The garden shed will be open from Thursday through Sunday from noon to 7 pm throughout the month of August. Access will be off Colborne Street down a quiet lane. Please follow directions posted at the front of 66 Farm Street in Almonte.