Dessa Ely

Grade 11, Etobicoke School of the Arts | Toronto, Ontario

Best friends

Best friends is a set of chlorophyll prints from a series about capturing the universal experience of growing up. Our beings are made up of small pieces, and as time passes, some of those pieces are left behind. Through the deaths of parts of ourselves, we become new humans. This is a process I replicate in art. The process I use to make chlorophyll prints uses sunlight to naturally bleach an image onto a living leaf. Parts of the leaf die while others live, creating a balance of life and death and eventually forming an image. In this specific work I explore the loss of a relationship I had as a child. I use art to process loss I experience, whether that be the loss of my childhood, people around me or places I’ve occupied. This allows me to turn loss into something beautiful, and learn to move on. Due to the nature of my materials, the work itself is alive, and will eventually die. It is a loss in itself, and its impermanence teaches me to appreciate what life currently holds, because nothing is permanent.