The Cot encompasses what had happened in my life at end of 2001 when I was attacked and raped at art school on the last day. Then I was made pregnant and miscarried at 3 months. That painful time, I came across a cot from the 1800s in early 2002 which somehow something clicked in me. It was the very symbol that gave me a healing. I knew I would be ok, I knew the miscarried baby is up there, an angel, my angel. It also gave me the power in my mind to say “F*#k this! That rapist will never stop me from going for my dream to be an artist or to live my life! He will never have power over me!
From then on, I grew as I healed. I was fortunate to have the support of a dear close friend who, at the time did not know what happened, but her joyful positive and kind but strong nature helped me get through this as did the cot that stayed in my mind.
Shortly after the miscarriage, on returning to art school (which was very hard!) I saw the spirit of a baby in my bedroom. That was the spirit coming to assure me and watch over me. Little did I know there were bad spirits around me caused by someone who had come to stay with me for a short time, and this baby spirit would be my protector. I found out much later about the bad spirits after I moved out of that house, when all my energy returned and scary things like thunderstorms around the house stopped happening.
This project is a culmination of my story, and involves wire sculptures of cots, rocking chairs and mixed medium materials for the artefacts that bring together the whole story. It started to piece together like a puzzle in early 2005 when I had recurring dreams that were scary and emotional and included symbols of what was happening and also took me far back into a past life that connected to my current life, and the events that happened in both lives.
The rocking chair with the cot, the rattle with the old tatty floppy soft toy rabbit, the mirror with the comb brush, all combine symbols of the story. The loss of a baby by miscarriage, the coping with both rape and miscarriage, dealing with the emotions and darkness of what had happened, finding the light at the end. The sculptures I’m making form a set and together with acrylic and watercolour paintings that depict further the story particularly the ghost side.
Along with exhibits of my sculptures and paintings is an installation of a life sized 1800’s cot sourced from Canberra, and life sized sheet covered wire sculptures of figures and a smaller one of baby spirit. The installation takes place in a dark room, dimly lit by a moon lamp that represents coping and nurturing, and in a corner is wooden planks that cover part of wall, depicting the run-downness of the situation, and tearing apart the damage done by the attacker, and survival.
Find out more: www.chelledestefano.com