There are few things more devastating than learning a child is seriously ill, but that’s what happened to the Evans family in 2006 when Sian, 7, was diagnosed with T-Cell Leukemia.
As they all navigated the new normal of Sian’s medical orders and treatments, her mother Morleigh began to discover hidden scenes that she would construct to work through her feelings.
Using dolls, stuffed toys, blankets and trinkets, Sian crafted silent stories that helped her process what she was so bravely enduring.
From Barbies taking a group carriage ride to Care Bears methodically lined up for slumber, the scenes are both heartwarming and heartbreaking when considering their context.
In the new exhibit at Arcane Space, “Tucked In” features images that Morleigh took of these creations, all captured in great detail at the time of their discovery.
Donned in soft plush carpet reminiscent of a young girl’s room, the space also features a workshop area with toys that children are invited to use to create their own scenes. When I visited, two kids were deep in concentration, crafting personal masterpieces. As I observed their intense focus, I was reminded of how therapeutic creative exploration can be—both for children and adults.
I lost a grandfather I never met to leukemia and have known countless other friends and family members who have suffered through cancer. Each journey carried unimaginable amounts of agony regardless of the outcome. This exhibit shows art that both respects that type of journey and perhaps makes sense of it in the most pure way.
Thankfully, Sian survived the cancer and is a thriving young woman today. Visitors to the exhibit have the opportunity to purchase prints of her various scenes (prices range from $100 – $800) and/or a book of the images with an introduction from Morleigh ($170). Proceeds benefit Cancer Support Community Los Angeles. Admission to the exhibit is free.
“Tucked In” welcomes visitors to Arcane Space Thursday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. through May 26.