Shorthand art installation explores miscarriage loss

A Dundee art student and former journalist has created a series of shorthand-inspired works to help her cope with the trauma of having a miscarriage.

'It Happens' art work.

Ana Hine, from Dundee, said she was inspired to produce the works, as part of her Master of Fine Arts and humanities course, after questioning her ‘standard’ response to people who asked her how she was after she had a miscarriage.

Her works are on show along with more than 80 exhibits at the 2019 Masters Degree Show at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art which runs until 25 August.

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One of Ana’s Masters Show pieces, entitled ‘Disqualified From Motherhood’, has the word ‘disqualified’ written in Teeline shorthand, behind the symbol of a positive pregnancy test.

Another uses the line ‘It was just a collection of cells, it happens’.

Ana said: “I found myself saying ‘Oh it’s okay, it happens’ to people after my miscarriage, which was at nine weeks.

“I said it so often I started to wonder if I really meant it, or if I was just trying to protect myself from the grief I was feeling.

“Making the work has allowed me to work through the feelings I have about losing that child and I hope other people will be able to engage with the work and with the project.”

Ana said the core research question she used was ‘how can we use art to process the complex emotions that experiences such as pregnancy loss and miscarriage bring?’.

She then decided to use the shorthand she used as a journalist at theEvening Telegraph in Dundee, to write about her feelings in a private way.

“I use shorthand because sometimes things are too painful to write in plain English, and I want to try my best to protect myself – and the viewer – from work that might be triggering or upsetting.

“I’d like to open the project up to others who have experienced pregnancy loss because I think my shorthand technique can be a powerful opportunity to discuss these subjects in a safe way.”

People attending the show can write their thoughts on the blackboard walls or in longhand in a notebook with Ana later translating it into shorthand to add to the comments on the walls.