As a child, strong women surrounded me; my maternal grandmother raised two young girls on her own nine months out of the year as my grandfather sailed the Great Lakes. Likewise, my mother also raised two small children, as my father was sick for what seemed to be forever. Two women, four children, different time periods and two men on the back burner; two women playing the role of both mother and father while still trying to maintain their femininity through roles they adopted.
My grandmother was the head of the house during my grandfather's journeys, and when the Captain came home they slipped back into these predetermined roles set in place by society and gender. When he left, it was back to the "normal" roles that had been modified to fit their needs. My mother had her hands full with two small children, and a husband who was sick or working. As I dug deeper into these stories, I learned that my maternal great-grandmother raised five children on her own, and held down two jobs; not because she wanted to, as it was a time when women didn't work, but it was out of necessity, my great-grandfather had epilepsy.
It is through these childhood observations, as well as recent experiences, that I am interested in creating a dialogue about gender roles; what makes a woman a woman and a man a man. What ties these two genders together and what pushes them apart? There is an age old saying that behind every man is a great woman. I then ask, what stands behind her? Is there anything behind her or is she expected to stand alone and face what is before her?
As women, we are forced to assume many roles: mother, wife, daughter, lover, life-partner, sister, or friend. Somewhere in that equation, we tend to lose ourselves along the way, and the question then becomes, where am I? Or better yet, WHO am I?
My art describes a journey; my journey of discovery. Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism says, "A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."
Welcome to my journey, my single step.