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"Duve is my childhood blanket. Mum sewed him for me when I was born and I’ve slept with him ever since. For some reason he’s always been masculine. He’s had three world trips and has been dragged almost everywhere you could imagine. All of my relatives have stories about me when I was little, sucking my finger and dragging around this blue blanket. I would bring him everywhere. Now though, he just stays in bed! He is falling to bits. There’s bits of Duve in pot plants, in little makeup bags and boxes. Anything that’s travelled with me for a while has a bit of Duve. There are mascara stains on him that won’t come out anymore and he is becoming more ethereal than made of form.

As a graduation present from the family I was gifted ‘Travel Duve’ - a mini-Duve sewn together from the original fabric leftovers. They wanted to provide me with a present that, while a laugh, would have real genuine meaning to me. Everyone knows though, that Travel Duve isn’t the same!

When I realised Duve was my most sentimental object, I burst out laughing and equally had a sinking ‘oh no’ feeling in my stomach, knowing I now had to re-introduce him to the world. But it felt good to be really honest about Duve being my object. I think for interviews in the past I would’ve tried to pick something that would make me look sentimental, and that I could speak deeply into and sound interesting and switched on, rather than me actually being sentimental.

It feels really good to own who I am, even if it’s via a really extra-extra-loved piece of fabric. I’m just being me, and this is Duve. Any other object would be a lie. It feels really human to let oneself be attached to something really deeply.

I feel sentimentality travels through time and links me back to something in the past. It's something that goes beyond rationality, beyond logical thinking. Dropping below the mind space, into the body, into the heart space. The heart is a place my mind can sometimes block, but as soon as I’m in my heart, the world opens up. I feel it’s about stepping into my vulnerability. I think that our old/current Western zeitgeist has got a hold of sentimentality and in part framed it as a negative over-attachment, something that doesn’t provide empowerment. I was taught that the heart has a wall around it and that sentimentality is private and sits under that. But, in sitting with sentimentality, it’s a doorway to sadness and other emotions that also don’t belong behind a wall. It’s really beautiful because it’s a pull into my heart." - Olie, Tākaka (Interview: Chloe Mason)

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