Artist Statement

Ketan Gardner and Colin Tonra

We created the Independence Suitcase for Dorothy because we wanted to represent the independence and accomplishments she had throughout her life. Our goal was to allow Dorothy to be able to touch and see different moments from her childhood. She moved to Boston after living in New York for 47 years and left a stable job behind. She was denied a promotion three times despite her hard work and perseverance, and after the third time it finally put her over the edge.  She left her job and moved to New York in 1989. This took a lot of courage and it demonstrated her independence. Since Dorothy traveled a lot, we figured a suitcase would represent those moments well. So we decided to pick a few very important moments in her and build small models of them inside the suitcase, so that Dorothy would be able to interact with it. The process has many steps, like building the suitcase, out of laser cut wood. Next we have to 3-D print small model versions of the places she traveled, and things she experienced. It was hard to design the individual pieces but with a great outline set up, we were able to get it done. 

I sat in the office lobby infuriated. My face was red and I was about to explode. It was the second time this year they had denied me the job and I was done. I stormed out of the building with tears stinging my eyes. I decided to leave it all behind.