Hearts + Flowers is a Juried Group Exhibition Exploring the Souvenir and Sentimentality

On View at Brooklyn Metal Works, September to November, 2021

Throughout history, people’s collecting of objects has served the same sentiment - an inherent and existential need to freeze time and authenticate experience.

However, the significance of the memento is rarely fixed as its meaning changes with the shifting recollection of its possessor. The souvenir’s value lies in sentimentality, not material worth, serving the impulse to recall, capture, and re-live.

In Medieval times, travelers would often collect objects while on religious pilgrimages. The keepsakes could prove their visit and, by extension, their devotion. This resulted in the gradual destruction of ancient religious sites and artifacts. To discourage this illicit and destructive activity, inexpensive representative metal badges were mass-produced for purchase. This marked the conception of the modern-day souvenir.

Jewelry has historically been a popular form of souvenir due to its small scale and intimate nature. It is easy to transport, hide, or pass down to others. It can catalyze stories that span across generations. As a wearable object, it is a constant reminder of the story that it marks, as well as a means for further dissemination of that narrative.

Hearts + Flowers is an exhibition that explores how contemporary metalsmithing tackles the human desire to collect and the ensuing relationship to that object. Hearts + Flowers refers to the concept of extreme sentimentality. It will highlight artists who explore the marking of time and the memorialization of the past. The works imply significant moments or places with the awareness that these markers are not fixed, ultimately interpreted by their viewer or possessor. Hearts + Flowers aims to be a collection in itself, living a life of its own. Through this exhibition, we wish to understand how the wearable souvenir aids in building nostalgic sentiments.