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Photos: Alison Hancock

I can't say which domestic violence story started me thinking about the subject for an art piece. There have been many reports over the years; this body of work has evolved over time. Originally, this was going to be a much larger installation with several families represented, however, due to the venue size, I chose to narrow my scope to one family. I hope to include more families as I expand the work.

I focused on this topic because I was struck by the number of children who die from a seemingly random act of violence by a mother or father who should have been their protectors. With this piece I wish to explore the idea of a memorial to these young victims of domestic violence.

One way a family member, in particular, a parent or grandparent, shows their love for a child is to hand knit them a sweater. Hours of thought, love and work go into these handmade sweaters. I would see them at thrift stores and wonder who would discard such labours of love.

This led me to think about the discarding of young lives through domestic violence or neglect and the idea that these children were once loved, as the sweaters were. Perhaps they had worn these same hand knit sweaters. Possibly these sweaters were painful reminders to those left behind of their young wearers and so were donated to thrift stores.

From this initial inspiration came the idea to gather sweaters from thrift stores, and gather news stories of children who had died at the hand of a parent. I would unravel the sweaters and reknit them into washcloths, remaking the yarn into something of purpose. In a way, I felt it was a symbol of how the relatives of these murdered children have had their lives unravelled.

The carrying on in their roles as: grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and the remaking of their lives without the children that have been taken from them is represented in the practicality of the wash cloth. Though the yarn squares are informal I have placed them in illuminated cases that are meant to formalize the content and create the atmosphere of a memorial.