First Advisor

Brendan Clenaghen

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Art Practices and University Honors






Psychic trauma -- Art, Sculpture, Epigenetics, Intergenerational relations




Through the process of researching, conceptualizing, and creating my honors thesis I have been investigating my previously unknown family history and the events that led into generations of parental abandonment and inflicted trauma, in tandem with learning some basics about the research and science of epigenetics. In my own family line, the traumas endured by and inflicted upon the last five generations have, with no exaggeration, shaped every aspect of my life and history. Epigenetics explains how severe trauma can be passed down many generations through chemical changes in DNA. In other words, individuals may carry within their own bodies the trauma of their forebears from generations ago. These DNA changes, or, more accurately, changes in gene expression, lead to bodily issues such as cancers, autoimmune diseases, mental illness and more, resulting in shorter and unhealthier life spans. On a behavioral/social level, PTSD resultant from trauma has effects that trickle down and can lead to familial issues such as abuse, neglect, and parental abandonment. An ancient aphorism avows that the sins of the fathers can pass down to the third and fourth generation. Oppression in forms such as Racism and Abuse can substantively change the DNA expressions of the descendants of those who have been traumatized by them.

This sculpture is meant to illustrate the trickle down of these kinds of trauma on a family line, the glue becoming inseparable from the rope itself, woven among its strands, sticking to the fibers and itself, becoming part of the history and very fibers of the object.


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