BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT | GARY WEISMAN
MOTHERS: Who Have Lost Children
Preparing for an artist’s residency in Nepal, I wanted to work on something different within this empty offered Kathmandu studio. An idea had been incubating for decades and it began taking physical form in the anticipation of the residency.
I was interested in creating a requiem for parents, more specifically, for mothers who lost children. I know 12 mothers whose children had died either in infancy or older. The first was the death of my nephew, Brian; the most recent was that of friend Joanna who outlived her 93-year old mother. Oddly and coincidently, my studio life model for the sculpture, Jo, also lost a child. The most difficult loss was the drowning of Chris, a very good friend of my son. His body was never found in the deep lake that was the backdrop of both Chris’ and my son’s childhood.
I decided to focus on the relationship between mother and lost child, even though I know both mothers and fathers can equally be devastated by the loss of a child. There is nothing metaphorically equivalent to the umbilical connection between mother and infant, suggesting the primacy of any parental relationship regardless of parental gender. Metaphor penetrates beyond the specifics through the specifics; and in this case, the specifics of maternal loss. In addition, I ask to what extent is this loss shared and consequently, how is identity shared?
As the bronze mothers struggle with real silk fabric as well as the metaphor within the child’s size chair, we all endure within the silent suffering, as participant and witness.