Artist: Jodi Colella
Title: Once Was, detail
Attribution: Once Was, 2019, Jodi Colella
Materials: Donated clothing, black velvet, red cotton yarn, earth magnets
Dimensions: 12 x 5 feet
Image Statement: Once Was is a memorial for all those lost to the opioid epidemic in the prime of their lives. This 12-foot, 2-sided tower is covered with 3,600 poppies that are stitched and then sewn onto a plush black velvet foundation. The poppies are made from repurposed clothing donated by those I spent time with talking about this project and the opioid crisis. The resulting array of patterns, colors, styles, and materials represents the lives of all people of every age, gender, relation, ethnicity, etc. The empty centers are outlined in bright red to embody the victims, and the void reveals black velvet beneath - a funerary symbol - adding gravity and symbolizing loss.