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 enter my studio, I am encouraged by the faces and stories of these women. With this project I wanted to honour the 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.
I thought I should answer a few questions here about THE GRANDMOTHERS project: 1. I will post the portrait paintings at the beginning of each week in 2020. 2. You will be able to find them on instagram (instagram.com/veronicafunk) & on my website weekly (like my previous 52 WEEKS & Nasty Women projects). 3. I will also be creating a small book/exhibit catalogue for this series which will be made available to purchase online. 4. There will be an exhibit in 2021...the date & location are yet to be determined. 5. I'm still in need of a few grandmothers to share...if you're interested in sharing a couple of photographs and memories, please get in touch.
Beginning The Grandmothers project also has 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 this upcoming Grandmothers project I want 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 each image to read stories and see original photographs.*