• Ciaran Bell, The Ritual Tree, Clay, 2021
  • Ciaran Bell
  • Ciaran Bell
  • Ciaran Bell
  • Ciaran Bell

Hymnal is a story of identity, trauma, and becoming told through the eyes of an unnamed protagonist and the monsters they encounter. The exhibit is comprised of mixed media clay sculptures that include objects ranging from LEDs to wings made of golden feathers to a charm given to me when I turned sixteen. Each of these sculptures encapsulates a feeling or experience that has helped shape me into the person that I am today.

Pop culture, specifically anything involving monsters, has impacted my worldview since early childhood. Ever since I was a small child, monsters have been my constant companions. To me, monsters are, as my favorite director Guillermo del Toro would say, “patron saints of our blissful imperfections”. Within this show, I use monsters to reflect on and discuss my experience of growing up as a closeted queer person in religious education. Through my monsters, I explore the experiences that helped shape me into the person I am today.

Hymnal is my love letter to monsters and it is my story of overcoming religious trauma and learning to embrace my identity fully and unabashedly. It is a celebration of the monsters that made me and the person I have become.