stepping out of the shadows

Mixed Media
; plaster, wood, paper • 20"h x 12"w x 6"d

Is it any wonder that I stand in the shadows watching your world as it parades by with it’s insults, injury, chaos and pain? Is it any wonder that I keep my back against the wall and my heart safely tucked away where your world cannot touch it? Is it any wonder?

The ballerina has been in my life since I was fifteen. She lived in the barn at my parent’s farm. Originally she was a lamp that belonged to the previous owners’ of the farm. They left her behind when they moved, saying they would come back for her. They never did. I watched as over the years, her metal lamp parts rusted and disintegrated, her paint bled and peeled. She lost an arm, then another — but her hands remained intact, still holding the promise of tomorrow in a bouquet of five roses. Every time I walked past her, she seemed to call out to me to rescue her from this neglect, but I did nothing to save her, she was not mine.

On a visit to the farm, ten years or so ago, I noticed that she had new damage. Broken just above her ankles, she was separated from her base. I realized at that moment that I was the only one in the world that cared about this ballerina and that she belonged to me. I took her home and placed her a bright corner among a few houseplants. But, she always seemed out of place there, like a fish out of water.

It wasn’t until my neighbors cleaned out their basement and hauled a mountain of trash out to the curb on trash day,
that the ballerina became complete once more. A painted wooden drawer on the top of their trash pile caught my eye. I knew immediately it was meant to house the ballerina. Placing the ballerina in the drawer put her back into the setting of the darkness of the barn. The place where she existed and was neglected for so long.

She has come full circle. Surviving harsh conditions that broke her, she somehow managed to hold onto her beauty and has become whole again. She no longer exists in the shadows, she is stepping out and ready to tell her story.


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