In its latest edition, Love Lost, Miami continues its varying healing and connecting journey to the depth of our hearts
That night, Green Space at 7200 Biscayne Boulevard looked unlike a typical community gallery. A long queue patiently waited for permission to enter; it felt like a room no one’s lived for a long time but left behind, mistakenly or purposely, something precious and sentimental – a diary, feathers, postcards, a key. Seventeen deeply personal artifacts and accompanying narratives found in space shocked and warmed visitors with their frankness and intimacy. Strangers became unexpectedly close. They all talked about love…lost, gained, broken, and healing.
Love Lost, Miami is an annual exhibit that reveals the strings of heartbreak living in our own backyard. They take the shape of unfinished stories and broken bridges, deserted homelands, missed opportunities, endured trauma, unexpected heartbreak, and peaceful resignation.
“At the core of the exhibit are ordinary objects in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Exhibited together, in dialogue with each other and the audience, they take on a different lived experience and a communal mosaic of human emotion, colored with shades of heartbreak, love, anger, fear, hope, gratitude, even humor,” says Natalia Martinez-Kalinina.
Along with Paula Celestino and Maral Arslanian, Natalia has been curating this project since 2016, but as they say every year, “Love Lost surprises at the mercy of the submissions they receive.”
This time, a few common themes surfaced, such as the sudden loss of a family member, the loss of innocence, loss of identity, secrets exposed, lost love and hope gained.
“The stories reflect a large range of, once hidden, collective emotions that create a symbolic embrace filled with gratitude. It leads to love and the acceptance of every aspect of life,” says Paula. “Over the years, we’ve seen on how technology evolves the ways we connect, or sometimes disconnect. Still, the core of human experiences remains the same.”
Maral adds: “Witnessing people be surprised at how much and how deeply they connect with strangers: it is truly healing and moving.”
Featured artists: Rebecca White / Johannie Llano / Janet Mueller / Patty Suau / Paula Simonetti / Alette Simmons Jimenez / PJ Mills / Tori Scott / Pablo Matute / Andrea Garcia / Niki Lopez / Marvin Weeks / Sarah Stinson / Justyna Kisielewicz / Jayme Gershen / Solange Sarria / Nicolle Cure / Drew Deng
Below you may explore the five artworks we've found the most impactful and profound in its narrative expression. The author's text is published in its original version.
A SECRET, REVEALED
Buenos Aires, Argentina
I walked into her house, full of trinkets and ordinary, yet memory-drenched, things. The house where she outlived her husband, where she lived her last years on her own. I kept this suitcase full to the brim of string, but within it a secret she drew, folded, and tucked away. Deep at the bottom of its pocket, a small envelope with what feels like an origami fortune - you know, the ones we played with when we were kids.
Maybe she thought he'd outlive her. And as he looked through her things he'd come to find she knew all along.
Both living, then leaving, with a secret untold.
82" × 72" X 40"
Graphite, Wood, Mirror
My dear friend, what I would do to feel the smile as you kiss my cheek to say hello.
HEALING FROM WITHIN
11"' × 5" × 7"
Mixed Media Sculpture
This piece addresses the healing journey. Shadow work, personal development and healing the body, mind and soul from the insides. Inspired by the kintsugi art - "of being broken and put back together." The idea all parts of self are necessary to acknowledge our strength and resilience in spite of our struggles, life and traumas.
In late 2001, my family and I left all of our possessions behind in Argentina during a tragic economic collapse which felt like jumping off a sinking ship.
Earlier this year, I went back to Argentina for the first time in two decades.
Similar to a finding in an underwater shipwreck, this Jacques Cousteau book is the only remaining piece of my old life before 2001.
The moment I saw this old book collection at my uncle's home, I knew this was from my old home. I decided to open one of the books at a random page where the title read "To See The Unseen," I burst into tears because I didn't need anyone to confirm what I already knew, these were my dad's beloved underwater books.
I quickly put it back in the bookcase; I had to come to terms with the fact that all the things we left behind didn't belong to my family anymore.
A few days after my encounter, my uncle confirmed what I already knew, and I decided to keep this one book.
POSTCARD WITH POEM
We reconnected after knowing each other loosely for a few years - romantic, unexpected summer dates. I wrote a poem the morning we said goodbye, "see you back home." I've kept writing poems about us since.
But then, we were not in the same city for a long time, and what developed was another surprise - slowly, organically, meandering - a friendship. Now, six months in, we talk every day, from political rants and animal videos to silly jokes and health updates. We tell each other how meaningful our relationship is for us. We name feelings with deeper words like intimacy and familiarity and trust and comfort. We say out loud what we love about each other, what attracts Us, what we admire. We thank each other for moments we have accompanied or clarity we have provided.
But we don't kiss. We've become too nervous.
The open question of whether to date or not to date hangs like a pregnant pause - the elephant in the room that we name, but neither manages to move. We admit our nerves and we name our overthinking, but neither of us budge to break the tension. I fear we may have missed some moment in time when the door was open, that now we will just entrench into a friendship. I want more; I struggle to accept where we are versus where I would like us to be.
I know relationships are long conversations, but I can't tell if time is our ally or our enemy.
I hope, deeply, we are not a lost love.
Take a gallery tour. Photos by Natalia Santander