"The focus of my work has become storytelling - honouring the lives + stories of women through portraiture."
BOOKS LEFT: 'The Grandmothers' exhibit booklet includes the stories and photographs of each of the women (preview here).
RIGHT: 'The pocketbook includes the paintings and stories (here). ______ EXHIBITS: Leighton Centre, Feb 5-Apr 2, 2022 Heritage Park, Apr 26, 2022 Trico Living Well, Aug, 2022
While going through old family photographs I began to wonder how I could honour those women who came before us. I loved the idea of remembering what our grandmothers have done, often without recognition, so for the 52 weeks beginning in January 2020 I began creating a body work consisting of weekly portrait paintings based on photographs and stories that have been shared with me. My goal was to include grandmothers and great-grandmothers and to hear their stories in order to share the challenges and successes of these women.
As the Covid-19 pandemic hit worldwide during this process, I found 'The Grandmothers' project to be even more important. So many women survived world wars, droughts, poverty, violence and illness. They were uprooted from their families and still found a way to support and encourage their children and grandchildren.
Each day I entered my studio, I was encouraged by the faces and stories of these women. With this project I wanted to share the beautiful, strong, encouraging women who have made a difference in the lives of their families, through their portraits and through sharing the stories and memories of their sacrifices and how they overcame their own challenges. They give me hope.
Beginning The Grandmothers project also had me reminiscing about my father. He was born in South America and began working at 11 years of age. Their large family imported items from Brazil to Paraguay using an old, unreliable truck which often stalled in the treacherous mountain passes. This required throwing wood blocks under the tires to keep the truck from plummeting down the mountain. It was also when he started smoking. At 19 he drove my mother to the city of Asuncion to apply for passports in order to emigrate to Canada for a better political situation and for opportunity. He had a voracious appetite for education and an admirable work ethic and was able to work his way from being a miner to a senior manager. He was always grateful to live in a country that allows everyone the opportunity to do anything they dream of with enough dedication & hard work. This also meant that my brother & I were expected to do well in school as he felt access to education was a great privilege. He instilled in me pride in my country, a strong work ethic and love of learning.
With 'The Grandmothers' project I wanted to honour the women who have done the same, through their portraits & sharing the stories of their sacrifices and how they overcame their own challenges. Please click on the images below to see photographs and to read more about each woman.