Over the past month I created a performance piece called "Now Is Real." The performance stemmed from the longstanding effects of PTSD suffered by my grandfather following his experience in Guadalcanal. After reading poetry he had written describing his grief, and encountering many homeless veterans on the streets of NYC, I decided to make my piece about the fallout that happens to the families of returning veterans who struggle to return to society, specifically my own experiences. I cannot speak for the experiences of others, but I began to realise that the war experience didn't end with honourable discharge. The ripple effects of PTSD trickled down into family interactions, dynamics and collective mental health.
It was an extremely painful experience to go through. I did not take it lightly. I did this behind my family's back, but I made the decision to move forward without judgement or anger. It cost me a lot personally, unfortunately.
I do not regret my decision to explore my family history, however painful the process was. It brought some much needed clarity and also explained quite a bit of what angered me for years. I am proud of the work I was able to do. It was the most intense process I've ever gone through for any art piece, and certainly the one closest to my heart. It was immensely cathartic.
Thanks to Nina and the Star House Gallery for providing the residency and a safe space for me to do this piece. Thanks also to Jill McDermid and Erik Hokansen at Rosekill, Sheree Rose, Rocio Boliver, Clara Diamond and especially Joseph Tovey Frost.