For Parts Not Working

by Lisa Murray

In 2018, on a downhill slope, my child put his feet through the spokes of our bicycle, and together we were thrown over the handlebars. My mothering instincts took hold -I wrapped my arms around my baby- taking the impact of the pavement with my head. I woke in a stranger’s arms and later learned that my baby came away virtually unscathed.

The hardest part of my recovery was learning to live with a concussion, which came with a temporary inability to talk. Put simply, my brain couldn’t process thoughts fast enough to string words together.

As my recovery progressed, I realised I had gained a clear understanding of the way my brain functioned. In particular, I understood where it housed trauma, which was fascinating to me.

Unpacking the case of memories I’ve kept safely buried deep within my mind and delving into the times I’ve been broken, ‘For Parts Not Working’ explores and attempts to visually articulate trauma and related PTSD.

The series of constructed narratives are composed by combining a textile element to represent a hospital viral signs monitor with photography and mixed media techniques, including collage and sculptural work my children made during their early years, through some of our shared lived experiences.

Drawing from my personal health struggles and near-death experiences, this ongoing body of work is created as a tribute to my brain for the effective filing system it has created to protect me from myself.