Have you heard of The Museum Of Broken Relationships? No? Well, it’s a museum located in Zagreb (Croatia) that contains exhibits of personal objects that people have left after a break-up, alongside brief histories of the items. The point of this museum, as with most, is to encourage discussion and thoughts about ourselves, the wider world, different cultures and most importantly, be cathartic. Now, I haven’t visited this place but my first thought was that of apprehension. How could this help? Why would you even want to keep anything from a broken relationship? Why would you want to read about and potentially visit a place that focuses on broken relationships? But something came along to change my perspective.
It’s an idea called The Museum of Brokenself. Started by a woman called Vanessa, The Museum of Brokenself is a safe space for people to write about an item that has affected their mental health, in either a good or a bad way. Now, this made perfect sense to me. I can look at a dress or a book and remember exactly how I felt when I wore/read it. I can look at my crystal headband think right back to my dear friends wedding. Or the dress that I wore when I told my doctor that the devil on my shoulder had been a lot louder than she normally is and I am struggling to shut her out. But none of them have made me more emotional, then this painting.
I saw this painting for the first time a couple of weeks ago, when I was at my worst and upon first sight, I almost burst into tears. This painting looked exactly how I felt. The abstract blur face, that is almost drowning in the darker shades of blue and the manic bursts of colour on the left, representative of the glasswork that Hoyland did in his later years, is reflective of my feelings of drowning in my own dark thoughts, even with bursts of colour (good thoughts) on the side. You can’t tell from the photo but the darker blue paint is thick and almost looks as if it is dripping off the canvas and up close it is HUGE. It immediately meant so much to me. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how to create something that reflects my current state so well and to see it in person, shook me to my core.
In my better times, I found reflections of myself in literature and plays that I created and performed at school. They often helped me to work through my own problems and helped me to feel less alone. I haven’t been able to do that recently, but I am so glad that this painting has allowed me to do that. It proved to me that I am not alone and that art can affect people. Deeply. And I never want to forget that again.
So, if you ever see this painting, or any piece of art that hits you so deeply. Know that you are not alone. Know that being able to feel that is a sign that you are alive. And hey, who knows? If I am ever in Zagreb, I may give the Museum of Broken Relationships a visit.
Let me know if you have been there!
If you would like to submit a photo and up to 350 words about how the item in the photo has affected your mental health, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or if you just want to tell your story without the photo, you can do so by clicking on this link
Let me know if you do.
Have a great week.
All the best,