Art, ambiguity and loss

Like so many other things in our lives, the Art Caravan’s travelling schedule has been suspended, due to the pandemic.  Instead of bemoaning the specific shows we didn’t see this summer like  L. L. Fitzgerarld at the WAG or Katie Ohe at the Esker  (sigh…) we are going to think about  the work of Pauline Boss, a researcher, professor, author, and therapist who first used the term ambiguous loss in the 1970s.

Doc Snyder's House, L. L. Fitzgerald, 1931

Doc Snyder’s House, L. L. Fitzgerald, 1931

Sky Block, Katie Ohe, Esker Foundation, image by Elyse Bouvier

Ms Boss defines the two types of ambiguous loss:

a physical absence with psychological presence (eg. in situations of divorce, immigration, natural disasters, adoption)

psychological absence with physical presence (eg. dementia, Alzheimers’s, addiction, depression, mental illness, brain injury)

Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief, by Pauline Boss

The On Being Podcast with Krista Tippett  (audio and/or transcript) provides a very good overview to Ms Boss’s research.  In her introduction to the interview Krista Tippett says You could say of 2020 that we are suddenly in a world of ‘ambiguous loss.’  The conversation with Pauline Boss is, indeed, …full of practical intelligence for shedding assumptions about how we should be feeling and acting that actually deepen stress precisely in a moment like this.

I particularly liked the July 2020 follow-up conversation between Ms Tippett and Ms Boss. This Living the Questions  (audio and/or transcript) segment is honest, affirming and, again, offers practical strategies for these strange and challenging days.

On Being podcast

In the spirit of Ms Boss’s suggestions for coping during the pandemic, The Art Caravan will continue with the ritual of bi-weekly postings.  We acknowledge the sadness and losses we sometimes feel. We will continue to enjoy fabulous, fascinating artwork, artists and ideas.  Now we have the luxury of time to share it with you.

 

 

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