24 Oct Fracture ….
I wrote the following on the 27th Sept in my notebook:
The fracture has always been the beginning. Days in November after Joan. Fracture widens and by December Joan is Susan. And that was how it was for 40 years, and then the day I posted the letter I broke. Disks shattered into my spine. I fractured. Since then I’m numb and you are silent. It’s like we swapped places. This scar is my witness mark, the only evidence that you’ve touched me in 44 years.
I suppose I am obsessed with identity as it has always been the property of someone else, taken by religious institutions, government and the adoption system they designed for unmarried mothers in Ireland from the 1920’s through to the mid 1990’s. This was not a single event but years of systematic and structured programming of a whole country.
Art has allowed me to identify with everything in the world around me, in a non judgmental manner with freedom to communicate visually offering (sometimes..) some critical distance from chronic trans-generational trauma. I often wondered if it would hurt less if I had of been born male, never having to think about the guilt and separation as I became a mother and the haunting intensified. Hiding it isn’t the same as knowing how to live with it. Making art about it is isn’t either, but at least its something. Like seeing the hierarchies collapse as we repeal, cry and shout and change constitutions. Thankfully we are a dying breed.
“Perhaps an artwork can represent a marker in one’s life or act as a rite of passage” Pg 83 Ways of Looking. Today I was bolstered by Johns opinion that all art is a form of self portrait, he is right, even if we conceal it in layers of everything else. “Art is like breathing. You shouldn’t question it – you just do it or die” Marina Abramovic [Pg88 Ways of Looking.] So I’ll not question it any further for now.