then he forgot my name, a self-portrait photography series, examines decay and mortality while reflecting the current American political tumult and the collective awakening of female power.
Several years ago my father was diagnosed with dementia, prompting frequent visits to my family home located in the American Rust Belt. During one such stay, my brother offered me unlimited access to a historic building he bought twenty years ago in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, that remains untouched and lost in time. The decay and deterioration are visually stunning and perfectly mirror the experiences of a woman with aging parents. Full of the spirit of its history, the building yearns to reveal its tales, providing a crucible for conjuring story and character.
Approaching the work from the personal, I find paths to a wider relevance through archetype, symbol and metaphor. The universality of womanhood, replete with its trials, wounds, strengths, tolerances, and impossible tasks, is my starting point for a journey to greater truth. then he forgot my name evokes the inner thoughts of the women depicted, the ones who lived or worked in the building since it was constructed—characters created through researching past tenants, inspired by found objects on set as well as personal experiences. Although the past few years has seen political and cultural turmoil, it has also given rise to a new conversation surrounding power, sex, men, and women. For the first time in modern history, women’s experiential perspective is at the table and will be heard.
What began as a project about my declining father evolves into what it means to be a woman, with a look back at our history and tying it to the issues of today. The title then he forgot my name takes on a different interpretation— beginning with the denial echoing from some of the perpetrators ringing harshly and loudly: “I don’t even remember her.”
The use of the color pallet of red, white and blue in conjunction with the deteriorating state of the rooms both implies and explores the vulnerability of democracy and the tenuous nature of power, while flashes of yellow represent the light of new beginnings and the potential for rebirth. Despite it all—amid the ruin and her troubled history—the strength of the woman emerges.
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