“There are two kinds of secrets: those we keep from others, and the ones we hide from ourselves,” Frank Warren once said.
Warren is the founder of PostSecret, an operation and blog that relies on the artwork of anonymous, everyday people around the world. Secrets presented on postcards are sent to Warren’s home in Maryland where he sorts and compiles them in his books or displays them in exhibits across the country and world.
Warren’s exhibit, “PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death and God” is currently being displayed at BU in the Haas Gallery of Art until July 15. It contains 160 postcards from PostSecret’s collection of unique and personal messages on sensitive topics.
PostSecret is called a community art project and it allows people to express their private feelings or “secrets” on a card that is sent to Warren; a stranger who offers an outlet for people to vent about life’s struggles or triumphs. The result of this process generates emotional and powerful messages on a medium as simple as the postcard.
Since the project began in 2004, Warren has accumulated over 350,000 postcards from people all over the world. The secrets can be about anything from childhood experiences to regrets to desires, but participants must make sure the secret is “true” and PostSecrets states it must be something you have never shared with anyone before. For examples and a further explanation about the process, see the video below.
“Of course, no one could claim that all 200,000 secrets are ‘true’ in the strictest sense or the word,” Warren said on his website.
“But I think of each postcard as a work of art. And as art, secrets can have different layers of truth. Some can be both true and false, others can become true over time depending on our choices,” he added.
The Press Enterprise reported on Monday that there is a disclaimer in the gallery stating that, “Some secrets may not be suitable for all audiences.”
But, do not be discouraged to enter the exhibit with an open mind because the postcards can be truly inspiring and interesting. They may give you insight about someone’s life or about your own.
“Sometimes a secret we keep from ourselves only becomes true after we read it on a strangers postcard,” Warren explains.
The exhibit is also a preview of PostSecret’s latest book, “Confessions on Life, Death, and God” to be released on October 6. The display at BU is free and open to the public at 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, also from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays, and is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.