Photo credit: Cecelia Kyoko

The Martyrdom of Saint Elsewhere, Dorothy Melander-Dayton (Detroit, MI)
February 2017. Wedding dress, yarn, ribbons, toys, spray paint, plaster, wheelchair, crutches.

The Martyrdom of Saint Elsewhere is a theatrical installation that draws connections between religious iconography and the sacred nature of the Elsewhere collection. Though the museum is a secular entity, Melander-Dayton observed religious tendency sewn deep into the organization’s folds. Her work takes the sacred fragment as a point of departure to understand Elsewhere’s approach to materials and art-making.

From this framework, Saint Elsewhere materialized—a figurative “saint” of the museum. Like any good Catholic martyr, Saint Elsewhere attains holiness through physical trauma. Baroque-inspired symbolism suggests a narrative of spiritual and sexual transgression.

Material choices and arrangements point to bodily injury and deprivation—pain imbued through wedding gown, red ribbon, gloves, crutches, and wheelchair. The Martyrdom of Saint Elsewhere becomes a shrine, elevating the damaged and broken to transcendence.


Photo credit: Eve Goodby