a set of objects made for the Foundling Museum (2015)
made from steel, bronze casts, cherry wood
The Foundling Museum preserves the history of the Foundling Hospital, established in the 18th century as an orphanage. Among its collections the museum has a great number of tokens on display; little objects given by mothers as they handed over their infants in the care of the hospital.
Out of the items on display, one in particular stood out to me; a hazelnut with a hole carved into the shell. This token tells the story of a woman so deep in poverty that a simple hazelnut is all she has to give her newborn child at their parting. As a reaction to this story, breaking hazelnuts becomes a symbolic action in resistance against oppression and inequality.
The piece consists of brass castings in the shape of hazelnuts, together with a hammer and a wooden block; It is a nutcracker, with the inscriptions “We do not live in the best of possible worlds” and “If every day I persuade myself that I am filled with courage”.