Exploring the human body
Grief drawings. My mother had a stroke in early March and died 3 weeks later. Due to it being at the start of the Covid 19 lockdown, the issuing of her death certificate was severely delayed. It was 6 weeks before we could have her body for a cremation, and then only 10 of us could be at the funeral.
I found it hard to grieve during that delayed time. Grief is both public and a private – not being with my family was really hard. Also, because of the pandemic I felt guilty: it felt indulgent to be grieving a single person, when so many were dying. Without a funeral, there is no focus, no words to be written, no memories to be shared and no music to be chosen. A sort of limbo for grief. So I took myself into the studio. I wrote 3 words in my sketch book: PASSAGE PASSINGS CROSSINGS. I sharpened a handful of pencils and started drawing.
I made drawings without direction and without boundaries. It reminded me of something Paul Klee had said: ‘“Drawing is taking a line for a walk”. And as I drew, I started to talk to my mum, both in my head and out loud. I had started to grieve.
At first I thought the drawings were about the passage from life to death, but it seems they have also turned out to be about motherhood and birth too. Such is the bond between mother and daughter. The drawings were done at great speed, instinctively. Sometimes remembered walks become abstract line maps. Sometimes they are about her passing from life to death. A visual language emerged as I struggled to represent this liminal state.
As I drew, I started to talk to my mum, both in my head and out loud. I had started to grieve.