The Darlings’ Nursery
by Julianna Paradisi
The Manor of Art Room 360
Simply put, the images in The Darling’s Nursery are of children, and the toys that out live them.
They are a meditation on a human lifespan, however brief. The concept germinated during my fifteen years of nursing in Pediatric Intensive Care, and in a doll named Josephine. Josephine is my mother’s doll. In some ways, I have been my mother’s doll, as my own daughter, in some ways, has been mine. Josephine, it seems, will exist after my mother is gone, and probably after I am too. She is older than I am; she does not change perceptibly, but I do.
The play Peter and Wendy, by J.M. Barrie, usually interpreted in modern psychology to be about the unwillingness of a little boy (Peter Pan) to grow up into manhood, took on a more sinister meaning for me, a nurse caring for critically ill children. Not all children who do not grow up choose not to grow up. Tic Toc, the crocodile who swallowed a clock and roams about Neverland looking for someone to eat, is a metaphor for death, who comes after each of us, sometimes prematurely.
Josephine represents Wendy. Wendy represents survivorship, and growing up. Wendy’s last name was Darling. There is an open window in the Darling’s nursery, where Peter Pan entered to take Wendy and her brothers to Neverland.
The installations, White Gloves (2008) and Time and Memories (2009) continue the theme of artifacts, and what remains of a life.