Nearing middle-age, I set off to NYC to study, leaving behind my husband and 21-year-old son. I commandeered my way through 18 months of MFA work. The overnight adjustment was disorientating. I was living on my own, an unfamiliar experience. My identity as a mother was put on practical hold. I found a new tribe of companions and consciously gave myself permission to create work from a deep connection to who I was right there right then. A double-edged sword of being homesick against the backdrop of freedom of space and expression. In the physical space of the city, I was not someone’s mother. Strangely this strengthened my bond with my son in a surprising way. I found a voice in a form of expression that I never thought was valid. And that validity judgement, I realized, had come from only me for all my adult years. What kind of mother had I been? What kind of mother was I to cut the cord by vanishing from our family home? This time I was the one flying the nest.
This brought me into acute appreciation of the competitiveness of motherhood. So often the analysis is sternly against ourselves, never standing up to our high set of unrealistic standards. So often we strive to ‘succeed’ as mothers set against our own constructed framework.
Fast forward to the onset of lockdown in March 2020: after living in separate parts of the world on and off for over five years, my son and I were thrown into the same domestic space. Reconnecting was staggeringly seamless and better than it had ever been. We entered into the space as two individuals who are bonded through blood yet equally have a sense of adventure and ambition. Watching this exceptional human move around the house, tall and long limbed, filled me with ease and comfort. I closed the door on the anxious and strict inner mother-judge and welcomed my new connection to Motherhood into the house.
These cyanotypes were made during lockdown using archival images.