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Artist – Toma McCullim

Secret Life of Things

Bantry, Skibbereen, Castletownbere, Dunmanway & Clonakilty Day Centre

The Secret Life of Things_pail

‘Hold the object and read the story so the object talks to you….’

A series of poetic artworks using everyday objects was created to represent the holding of a memory for each of the participants. The familiar objects, turned sculptures became part of a travelling exhibition brought around the hospital beds and days rooms to stimulate conversation and more recollections from the familiar objects between patients, family members and healthcare staff.

Artist Toma McCullim used anthropological art theory to muse on the social life of an object.  She brought these everyday object of 30 or 40 years ago objects into the Day Centres of Bantry, Skibbereen, Castletownbere, Dunmanway and Clonakilty asking the question “what are the stories that these objects could tell?”

The artist used each object to record the group conversations recording the stories in the text directly onto the surface of each object. The teapot, baking tray and the big pot became containers of memory. “Our bodies remember the feel and action of the rolling pin, we recall in kinesthetic connection the sleán in our own hands and the hands of others. Together we weave the stories and share our part in what once was every day.”

Each of the Day Centre groups worked together to create a record of memory on a vessel that could be passed on to others in different centres across the programme. The conversations resulted in each individual feeling part of a greater group. The collected objects became a story archive. The objects continue to travel sharing their stories.  

The ‘Secret Life of Things’ objects was part of the Beltane Exhibition at Uillinn West Cork Art Centre. The artist intends that the objects will also tour the hospitals to be used as a bedside resource.