Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Who Are You...Really...?

The Journey From There To Here - Collage
Do you ever wonder who you really are? Why are you attracted to some things and not others? Are you consumed by wanderlust or are happier to be close to home? Do you wonder if perhaps other members in your family share your emotions?

My Mom’s family is Eastern European, Polish and Russian. When growing up in Brooklyn we lived in the same building as my Grandmother, Zosia. My Grandfather, Anthony, died years before I was born, so I only know of him through the stories passed on to me.

This is the main reason I cherish my Grandparent’s wedding photo and my Grandfather’s passport.

My Grandmother, due to a father who also embraced the wandering spirit, was born in Brooklyn, but as a baby returned to the farm they owned in Poland.  She emigrated at nineteen, an American citizen who could only speak Polish. Through night school and working at the Oh Henry! candy factory she mastered English. She was a brilliant woman, a true feminist, a woman ahead of her time.

My Grandfather emigrated from Belarus to New York. A brilliant chef and linguist, his Muse was the Arts. He instilled the love of libraries, art galleries, and museums in my Mom who in turn sparked the passion in me.

The collage is an homage to my Grandparents. The substrate is canvas, covered with sewing pattern paper to give me a warm ground to build the collage. I stencilled the squares using metallic acrylic paint. I photocopied pages from my grandfather’s Russian passport on to tissue paper. I enclosed the paper with red string, a nod to my Grandmother’s belief in the power behind the talisman. The oak leaf, symbolic of strength and courage, was found in my back yard. The Polish quote on the wedding photo means “True Love Never Grows Old”. I placed both on red Ogura paper. The postage stamps are Polish and from the Soviet Union.

So, who are we…really. Do our ancestors influence who we are today? Can we trace our strengths to those who came before us?

Zosia, Anthony…I like to think so.