Every Miamian has a story of heartbreak, and some preserve that loss in relics. Maybe you've been hanging on to that old mixtape, T-shirt, or confessional recording on The Power Love Hour. But in hanging on to these keepsakes, are you ever really letting go? Does creating a monument for your pain offer some sort of catharsis, or does it merely reopen the wound each time you glance in its direction?
The founders of "Love Lost, Miami" are offering heartbroken Miamians the chance to figure that out. A crowd-sourced exhibition that encourages locals to submit "artifacts" of a love lost, along with the story behind it, "Love Lost, Miami" explores the idea that communal grief can strengthen both the individual and the community around them. The four-day exhibition will hold court during Art Basel Miami Beach as a place for dealing with and healing from the act of putting your pain on display.
Founders Maral Arslanian, Paula Celestino, and Natalia Martinez-Kalinina launched "Love Lost, Miami" in 2016 as a respite for locals from the glitz and glam of Art Basel Miami Beach. "'Love Lost, Miami' is an experience that's different from what you get at Art Basel because we're really putting the focus on our community," says Arslanian.
"I study group dynamics, and Miami is a very diverse and dynamic and ever-changing group, but it's a group that's had very specific topics and moments where it rallies around emotion," Martinez-Kalinina says. "From the immigrant
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Last year's "Love Lost, Miami" presented more than 40 objects, ranging from a half-empty bottle of wine to a frozen meatball to a breakup letter. "As long as the object is directly associated to your experience of loss, then it's something we'd be interested in seeing and exploring through this exhibition," Martinez-Kalinina says. In displaying these objects alongside a personal account detailing its significance, the exhibit captured an audience who saw themselves in these harrowing stories of love and loss.
"There's so much commonality within heartbreak that you will always find something that mirrors one of your stories," Martinez-Kalinina says. "People would come in and read every story, sit on the floor, have strong emotions. It was really incredible."
Now accepting submissions for the 2017 edition of "Love Lost, Miami," the team plans to publish a catalogue of works for release next year. "Photographing these works and publishing a book is a way to honor these stories beyond the exhibition," Celestino says. "A lot of stories really touched us, and even if the owner doesn't want that item anymore, we realize it has a deeper meaning, and that's hard to let go."
"Love Lost, Miami"
December 7 through 11. Location to be determined. Submit your stories and objects of loss to lovelost.co/exhibit-submissions. Submissions are now being accepted through July 1.