A “Cloud” of Loved Ones Lost: Artist in Residence Julie Chen to Open Community Remembrance Installation “Always with Us” at Writers & Books
Rochester, NY—Writers & Books, Rochester’s home for the literary arts, and interdisciplinary artist Julie Chen, unveils a “cloud of the remembered” in its glass-enclosed entrance in the Neighborhood of the Arts, at 740 University Avenue, Rochester, November 3 from 6–8 pm.
Chen’s work about her mother who died in 2018 has been described as “a powerful salve, a safe space to grieve”. With Chen’s Always with Us, she aims to offer the same healing and remembrance to others, as an expression of collective grief and a representation of how loved ones linger with us beyond death. Since September, Writers & Books has hosted Chen who has collected items from several community members. The grieving have submitted what their loved ones have left behind: stories, items, sayings, and recordings; which Chen has been weaving into the dynamic, sensorial, cloud-like installation to be hung in Writers & Books.
The remembered range from parents, children, god-children, unborn children, grandparents, and even a beloved pet. Items include a handmade velveteen dress, imitation pearl necklace, hand knitted socks, ski patrol jackets, a WWII uniform jacket, and clothing that would have been worn by a child lost in pregnancy. Chen is carefully installing these using temporary means, so that all items can be returned unharmed. A catalog website of the remembered is forthcoming.
The November 3 opening event at Writers & Books will also present the artist and co-curator Susan Begy in conversation about the creation and process of Always with Us. Gift-economy tickets for the event are available to the public with Writers & Books. To learn more and register to attend, visit https://wab.org/artist-in-residence/. After the opening, the installation will be on view until November 17.
For more information about the project, visit websites https://wab.org/artist-in-residence/ and https://juliechen.net/always-with-us.