A lot of the work I have been doing has focused around the imagery of ‘zips and clasps’ taken from the handbags. These objects to me are the most symbolic and significant element to the concept I am looking to explore.
Zips and clasps on a handbag symbolise security and offer a sense of ownership and privacy, they create a separation between the content of a bag and its accessibility to the outside world. The security offered by the presence of a zip or clasp on a handbag is likely, for the dementia sufferer, to provide a sense of physical security replacing the lack of security existing inside their own mind. When the identity, memories and abilities begin to escape the individual and there no longer is a binding, assuring sense of self – the zip or clasp provides that sense of control that they can no longer have over self. The handbag becomes a place in which an escaping identity is collected, with the fastening allowing the bag owner a renewed sense of control, privacy and security.
The work that I have done looks to depict the image of the zip/clasp – but as separate to the bag. I think this highlights the futility of the zip in its ability to offer security – it can only serve as a ‘pretend’ object of control. Although it provides the sense of security for the individual – in reality it serves only as an empty symbol, and offers no help to the fading individual. The separation of zips/clasps from the bag in the drawings I hope will illustrate a symbol of security that offers little security, a notion of loss of function, powerlessness and impotency.