Vernon artist draws new meanings from personal loss in debut book
How does a person live with the unanswerable questions that surface after a loved one dies?
This question is at the heart of the debut book by Vernon artist Destanne Norris. Leah’s Gift: A Story about Reframing Loss is an autobiographical story that centres on the tragic loss of Norris’ daughter, Leah, who drowned at one-and-a-half years old in 1995.
Norris’ book on the loss of her daughter is a long time coming, and the result is a deeply touching meditation on the transformative powers of love, loss and art.
“This is a story that has been growing inside of me for many years and I’m so happy to finally share it with the world,” Norris said. “The experience of losing my daughter utterly transformed my life and I hope that in sharing my story I can touch the hearts of others a million times over.”
An established artist known for luxurious landscape oil paintings, Norris weaves her art into the narrative of Leah’s Gift with paintings and drawings presented in full colour alongside the text. For Norris, paintings she created 10 years before her daughter’s birth become premonitions in this context, as demonstrated by her reflections on the first painting found between the pages of Leah’s Gift.
“Where had this image come from? Why was I attracted to painting a baby? I have no idea. At 25 years old, I was not even thinking about being a mother. […] Its meaning remained a mystery to me until 1995, 10 years ...
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