Friday, July 16, 2010

Time Travel: Transformation of Loss

Pen and Ink Drawing by Virginia Moremen Lindsay
My grandmother was an important person in my life. She gave me a lot of structure and guidance. She was very creative -- she painted, drew, sculpted, sewed, sang acted -- and passed those talents through my mother to me. She was intelligent and could suss out any situation and any falsity in one second. She was also a very frustrated woman who never found happiness in her creations, and never took her talents to great heights, real or imagined. I have had this beautiful, but sorrowful pen and ink drawing by her hanging on my office wall. She made this in 1926, she was 28 years old. It features a naked woman crying or praying. It has always resonated with me, perhaps because I am the daughter and granddaughter of two creative, talented women who never did anything with their art. I have always had mixed feeling about this drawing -- probably because it was too close to the truth --I have lived the same life (and lie) only until a few short years ago when I decided to try to bring my talents out into the world. I am not famous, but my work and my jewelry is out there -- on the internet, in a published book, in people's homes and on their bodies. Today I took down my grandmother's drawing and added a Nelson Mandela quote (courtesy of Sophie) to the front of the glass: "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you, yourself, have altered."
Collage: My Darkest Hour by Virginia Simpson-Magruder, 1986
I went to hang it on my gallery wall, outside my studio and saw a collage I had made in 1986 -- I was not that much older than she was when she penned this drawing. I was struck by the similarities of the woman in the collage and my grandmother's, and I was struck by the appropriateness of the Mandela quote. And as I looked at both pieces, I saw that I am altered, I am no longer that person who suffers, or grieves, or is afraid to bring out what she has created into the world. That as I hold the awareness of that history of loss and sadness, it is being replaced with the opposite -- a woman of talent, beauty and the knowledge that I am exactly who I need to be right now, in this time, in this place. I also realized that today, July 16th, was my grandmother's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mimi, wherever you are.

1 comment:

  1. You've evolved, V... btw mine is your interpretation