Silence of the Sirens

Hand-painted wedding gown 

I passed by a yard sale in Providence and found a cream col­ored wedding dress on sale for $5 from the 1940s worn by a woman who had recently passed away. I was fascinated by the beauty of the dress and its meticulous lacework. It wasn’t an old wedding dress in my eyes but an object carrying many memories that I wanted to enrich by transforming it into an artwork. Having read Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, I was inspired by the story of the sirens– half-bird, half-human creatures – that enchanted the sailors and lured them to their death. I painted the dress tur­quoise to capture the Mediterranean and dipped it in the brightest gold I could find. I stained the dress with coffee to give it even an older look. Old maps, musical notes and stained glass patterns symbolized the story on the skirt of the dress. Musical notes represented the irresistible songs of the sirens – the crucial part of the story. Upon the layers within the dress are stories that are ready to be shared with the public.