This polished concrete and copper creation is part of a series of explorations into my daughter’s gender transformation. Her emergence from a chrysalis as a butterfly has involved a slow, subtle build up. The indecision over her gender identity, has been hovering over her throughout her childhood and adolescence, and only now, approaching her mid 20s has finally consolidated into a reality. To celebrate her transcendence into who she truly identifies with, I have been working on a series of concrete projects. Some pieces have been accidentally broken (a little analogous to the my daughter’s story), others have been inadequate, and others are still in evolving. This is the first of the pieces that I feel ready to share. In my adolescence, I read the book Papillon by Henri Charrière, and the epic chronicle of his escape has remained like an omnipresent shadow in the back of my mind. In a sense, I feel that my daughter is escaping the shackles of social stereotyping and expectation and learning to identify herself in her own terms. The journey may not always be smooth and she is not fully unfurled in this image. There will be much more to come.
Carefully inlaid clear glass and forms were sculpted over with concrete, and hours of grinding and polishing ensued. I’m not quite sure how I managed it, but I did. Copper was treated, etched and deliberately tarnished before being inserted into the form. Enamel details were then painted onto the piece.