Daffodil Ashes is an ongoing project about loss and the process of mourning. Daffodil Ashes began as a personal artwork in response to the sudden loss of my mother and has become a community social sculpture project. Searching for a way to console myself, I took inspiration and expanded upon the Chinese folk tradition of burning paper objects as gifts to the dead. The belief that smoke carries these paper replicas to loved ones in the other world has persisted since ancient times. Chinese funeral specialty shops sell fake paper money and paper replicas of luxury goods such as Gucci handbags, Rolex watches, and Apple products. The tradition emphasizes money and social status. The gifts are always purchased and limited by what is available at the stores. In my dismay at their commercialism and the lack of intimacy, I realized as an artist I should make my own.
I began the process of reflecting on what was most essential about my mother, to my memory of her, and what I needed to say and to send. I constructed paper versions of the daffodils in her garden, brushes and ink for her painting, food that I did not get to share with her and letters bearing words that were never spoken. After all the hours of contemplating, fussing, creating, and wondering if my mother would have liked them, I put them in the fire.
The original Daffodil Ashes began in the winter of 2010.