collective memory

 |  April 24, 2007

I have been working on a series of paintings exploring my pregnancy and what the experience meant to me. There were several questions/issues that I wanted to address from the beginning and which I wrote about in this previous post:

collective memory, mixed media, 4×4 inches

This little piece addresses the concept of collective memory. Or at least my idea of collective memory. One of the questions that I pondered many months ago was about the knowledge that is passed on from one generation to the next. Do we humans have a similar mechanism as birds as they build their nests or follow the call for migration? As caterpillars as they spin their cocoons for their final transformation? Our bodies take over upon the moment of conception. This knowledge of creating a womb to nurture life is programmed in our cells*. What else is passed on? The ability to nurture? Our instinct to ensure the infant’s survival? What it means to be a mother?

Each butterfly here represents the lines of generations. The threads that I added serves as a metaphor for memory and inheritance/heritage. The butterfly symbolizes for me- life, transformation, and the fragility of life.

*This is an issue that has become very personal for me since my body for some reason was unable to fulfill it’s role. A painful realization and one that leaves me feeling fragmented. Even though my little one is healthy now and growing, it still hurts to know that my body created a hostile environment for him.


  1. by Marie Otero on April 26, 2007  12:39 am Reply

    This is beautiful, as are all the pieces you have posted recently.

  2. by erika tysse on April 26, 2007  2:32 am Reply

    Thank you so much for the words of encouragement you left on my blog. I usually don't post personal things there, but felt like I would feel better getting it out there and seeing what type of feedback I got back. I am sure he will make it and be a successful adult, I just see all the challenges that lie ahead for him!
    Regarding YOUR art, fantastic as always. I am so jealous when reading about all of the DS workshops you have attended. Everytime I am back home in Seattle I try to fit one in and it never works. You work is fantastic, so happy to see motherhood has had such postive creative effects on you!

  3. by Tricia Scott on April 26, 2007  4:45 pm Reply

    this piece is beautiful. i sat and simply stared at it for a good long while. i have had similar thoughts about collective memory and it was interesting to read about...i haven't thought about that in a while. it seems that i think much more now, being a mommy, than i ever did before. :)

    i had trouble with delivery...nothing went as was a terrible experience really though it seems awful to write that. and i know i have issues still surrounding this. i haven't even journalled about it or talked much is a feeling of such deep betrayal (by my body).
    ...heavy stuff, huh. :)
    thank you also for the previous post. i am fairly new to painting so that was a big help to me.

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