Imagining Mum: A cathartic tribute to Mums everywhere

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Imagining Mum began as a cathartic homage to my own (late) mother but is now a tribute to all mothers.

I created the photographic images by painstakingly painting with light the subject matter using a variety of light sources. This technique created a lovely ethereal effect which I love.

When I touch and photograph the garments and belongings that I have inherited from my mum fragments of memory are interspersed with imagined ones that I wish to share.

For example I try to imagine what the young woman was feeling who was all dressed up in her finest tulle ball gown; all I have is a smiling face looking back at me captured forever in only a small black and white photograph. Not for the first time I wish I had asked Mum more about this photograph while I still could. So I have imagined her joy, her love of life in this ethereal image…

As well women younger than my own mum, women from the 1970’s, are represented in Hippie Chics Triptych which hints at a new freer generation of women. While the history of these garments is unknown, for me the triptych asks the questions – who were the women who wore these dresses, these women of a freer generation, who by and large became mothers? What are they doing now? Could the viewer’s mother have been one of these women?

While the idea of an artist paying tribute to one’s own mother is nothing new (for example Joachim Froese’s work (1), or Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida dealing with the taking of a photograph and what the image means to him in relation to the death of his mother, discussing at length missing her ‘being’ in the photographs that he sees of her,(2)) I hope my work is viewed as being fresh, strong and thought provoking.  I hope my proposed  exhibition will reach out to the audience and prompt people, male and female, young and not so, to take the time to find the persona behind their own mother while they can, to ask questions, to record memories or, if too late, to join me in Imagining (their) Mum.

Sharon Greenaway 13th October 2014

(1),cntnt01,default,0&cntnt01albumid=9&cntnt01returnid=52 Accessed 1st August 2010  (2) P75, Barthes, Rolan ‘Camera Lucida, Reflections on Photography.’

Published by sharongreenaway

Bachelor of Visual Arts (Photography), Latrobe University.