Believe? What do They Mean?
61 x 65 in, oil on canvas, 2018
“Boomerang” is a collection of 25 artworks total, 6 sculptures and 19 paintings. The paintings are all in the medium of oil on canvas, while the sculptures are made of resin on wood or metal bases.
This most recent collection by Stetco came about as a reaction and a cathartic way to deal with trauma in her past. As a teenager, she was sexually assaulted and became pregnant as a result. After she gave birth, she was told by doctors that her baby had died. Stetco was devastated by this, and although she was able to move on with her life and studies, there was always heaviness and darkness within her. One morning in 2018, Stetco saw a picture of a young woman on a Moldavian group online. She saw nearly identical features to her own on this young woman, and after contacting the young woman, Stetco discovered that she was in fact her daughter thought to be dead over twenty years ago. They reconnected and were reunited in Montreal that same year.
Stetco’s collection shows her vulnerability, and the process of coming to terms with something she never expected to happen. Her artworks tackle the dichotomy of feeling guilty because of the circumstances under which her daughter was created, feeling ashamed for not being able to raise her daughter she did not know existed, but at the same time feeling eternally grateful to have found her daughter, and to have been able to form a connection with her, even if this connection happened later in their lives.
A principle motif in “Boomerang” is babies. Almost all the pieces in this collection show a baby, this being because part of Stetco is still trapped in her past. She has repressed the memories of her assault and upbringing. Thoughts surrounding her pregnancy, like imaging her baby being alive, were left unacknowledged and pushed to the back of Stetco’s mind. She blamed herself for what transpired in her life, and she continually felt guilty and feared judgement from others, so she refused to face questions about her past pregnancy until she unexpectedly found her daughter. Viewers see a beautiful baby, full of innocence and life, but behind this image is an unresolved darkness and trauma, as exemplified through the abstract forms surrounding the babies.
The title of Stetco’s collection being “Boomerang” was chosen to exemplify how life can be thrown out of control at any point, but despite this, it always finds a way to bounce back, and return to balance. Throwing a boomerang is what Stetco’s life has felt like since her assault, whiling at high speeds through the air, not sure when one can slow down, but she has finally caught the boomerang originally thrown, and is beginning to find an equilibrium in her life.
Her work invites viewers to see themselves within it - in the gaze of the innocent babies – and to face something they too have repressed, and to discover something beautiful from their introspection.