‘Museum of Broken Relationships’ exhibit comes to Canada

The showcase of artifacts that are left behind when love ends is coming to Toronto

A piece entitled ‘Ethiopian Cotton Scarf’ from Montreal is shown as part of the ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’ are seen at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre on Wednesday, June 26, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)

Salima Punjani still loves the Ethiopian cotton scarf, despite the heartache woven into its fluorescent yellow fabric.

The gift from her ex had become a symbol of Punjani’s past loves and the pain that followed, and the 32-year-old Montreal graduate student knew she needed to let go of the item in order to unburden herself of the romantic baggage it carried.

Punjani couldn’t fathom who would want such an article of pain, nor was she ready to consign it to the trash heap.

So she decided to donate the scarf to the Museum of Broken Relationships, where it will be displayed alongside other artifacts of heartbreak in a Toronto exhibition opening Saturday.

“This is a perfect place to still honour the memories, but also get the scarf the hell out of my house,” Punjani said.

The Harbourfront Centre marks the 53rd stop in the Museum of Broken Relationships’ worldwide showcase of the mementos and memories that are left behind when love ends, organizers say.

The show will feature highlights from the museum’s permanent collection in Zagreb, Croatia, as well as about 10 new contributions from lovelorn Canadians.

These local donations may not seem like much at first glance, but their stories run the emotional gamut from fury to forgiveness.

ARCHIVE: ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’ show on display in Whitehorse

A comb represents a bitter entanglement with a hair-obsessed ex-partner. A hand-drawn treasure map tracks an online romance that took a turn for the worse. A red-eyed toy rabbit evokes the searing glare of strangers witnessing a couple’s public argument.

The first-person testimonials that accompany each of the objects detail not only failed romance, but the passion that preceded it. In this sense, co-founders Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic like to say the museum is about love, but turned “upside-down.”

The trove of once-treasured keepsakes traces its origins back to the Croatian artists’ own breakup in the mid-2000s.

The former couple longed for a place where the sentiments and stories of their years-long relationship could be preserved. And over time, the personal project evolved into a public space where the private grief of heartbreak can be shared with strangers, Vistica said.

“When a relationship is over, there is a remembrance. There are people who can connect with it, empathize, identify with the story,” she said.

“In a way, it stops being your personal experience, but it becomes a human experience.”

All donations made to the museum are exhibited anonymously, and the stories of severed connections can span failed romance, betrayals of friendship or even the death of a loved one.

The Museum of Broken Relationships runs at the Harbourfront Centre from June 29 to Sept. 8.

Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Lacombe author Fran Kimmel to attend Words West of the 5th in Rimbey to celebrate Culture Days

Rimbey to celebrate Culture Days with renowned writers, photographers, musicians

Rimbey Christian School welcomes new teacher

New faces at Rimbey Christian School

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Charges stayed against Alberta RCMP officer in alleged off-duty Whistler assault

Const. Vernon Hagen instead completed an alternative measures program

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

Judge finds Alberta couple not guilty in toddler son’s death

It was the second trial for the Stephans, who were found guilty by a jury in 2016

Alberta couple charged in toddler son’s death to learn fate from judge

David and Collet Stephan are charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life

Alberta government pitching that small rural areas pay for policing: NDP

Those 291 districts represent about 20 per cent of the Alberta population

Alberta inquiry into oil and gas foes could face legal challenge from Ecojustice

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has repeatedly accused U.S. charities of bankrolling efforts

Yearbook photo surfaces of Trudeau wearing ‘brownface’ costume in 2001

The report describes the occasion as an ‘Arabian Nights’-themed gala event

Most Read