then he forgot my name
then he forgot my name, a work-in-progress, was born out of the acknowledgement of fear. Fear of being: vulnerable, alone, seen, weak, misunderstood, not enough, too much, and of my own mortality.
several years ago my father receives a diagnosis of dementia leading to frequent visits to my family home in ohio. during one visit, my brother reintroduces a building he bought two decades earlier in downtown youngstown, ohio that remains untouched and lost in time. the decay is visually stunning and reflects with brutal clarity the experience of a middle-aged woman with aging parents, and all that implies. below the surface, beneath the building’s deterioration, lie the stories, the voices, of the women who once brought it to life and are now gone. it seems to yearn to tell its story.
approaching work from the personal, and finding paths to truth by elevating it to the universal through myth, archetype, and character, womanhood is the obvious starting point. then he forgot my name, takes the inner dialogue of women who lived or worked in this building, with their history gleaned from researching past tenants, found objects on set, as well as, my own experiences. the universality of womanhood—the trials, wounds, strengths, tolerances, impossible tasks—give the vantage point to start.
what began as a project about my father evolves into what it is like to be a woman, with a look back at our history and tying it to the conversation of today, the #metoo surge. The title, then he forgot my name, takes on a new interpretation—and the denial echoing from some of the perpetrators rings harshly and loudly: “i don’t even remember her.”
another pattern surfaces, that of the red, white and blue color theme, in each image or individually showcased. subconsciously, fear is bleeding into my work and i am cognizant of the vulnerability of democracy—for what may be the first time in my lifetime—and connecting it with decay, both as a country and in the imagery and within all this, the strength of the woman emerges.
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