Julie Sirek

A Family Matter (detail)

Minneapolis, MN
Handmade gampi and mixed media. Photo: Petronella Ytsma

I grew up in an abusive family, and I incorporate my personal history, and the violent experiences of other women and girls, into my work. A Family Matter is a series of handmade gampi dresses that represent 30 Minnesota women who died as a result of domestic violence in 2009. The dresses are beautiful objects, representing the optimistic view women have about marriage. The garments appear similar, yet each is unique. Juxtaposing the sweetness of the dress with a depiction of violence transforms an object, which usually provides comfort, into one with tortured qualities. Each dress is a page in a haunting narrative. It is my attempt to fully represent the on-going nightmare of domestic violence.

$10,000 for installation