Naomi Kasumi

A Story I Heard from Granma
book art (mixed media)
8 x 6 x 2 in.

MEM: air 2001

This memorial monument and video piece share the truth of my experience of having an abortion in May 1998. This is part of a series of memorial pieces that represent my life, experience, memories, and feelings over the past four years.

Since 1998, I have found myself constantly reflecting back on my experience and struggling to make peace with the emotions of sadness, loss, confusion, and depression that it has caused.

Coming from Japan, I have a different cultural background and perspective. In my hometown, abortion is considered extremely taboo and is surrounded by guilt and shame. It must be kept secret and hidden.

In the United States, the topic of abortion is usually not discussed except in the context of the polarities of pro-life and pro-choice. The reality of living through the experience and complex feelings that are unique to anyone who makes the choice to have an abortion are seldom shared.

Since 1998, I have been making hand-made objects spontaneously, and obsessively, as a therapeutic, redemptive action, as a way to atone for my sin. The loss of this tiny life has led me to create repetitive objects, re-creating the same object and same action over and over, day and night. This “ritual” seems timeless.

Sharing the truth of my experience with others publicly is my catharsis and part of my healing process. My intention is to provide a rich and honest forum where through interactive storytelling, I invite people to identify their own memories of loss and secrecy.

I know I am not alone in dealing with this experience.

© Naomi Kasumi