i’m curating a retrospective art show of my mum Shelley’s photography. She died less than two years ago and we never had a public memorial thingy. Grief is totally ongoing and organic; it’s like…how many innumerable (little and big) ways can we continue to honour the dead?!
Art shows are fun. It’s been kind of like a timeless collaboration between her and i as i decide which images to enlarge and frame. Lots of trips down memory lane digging through all the photos to find the specific negatives to print from.
You are invited, the exhibition is next month Nov 5-29th at the GPAG gallery in lower Gibsons.
I also made a webpage of the show (plus extra bits) for those who won’t be on the Sunshine Coast during that time and for those farther away. www.motherdaughtercoast.ca Click a way.
Shelley Twohig never used photoshop; she didn’t alter her photos digitally in any way. These images are some from her “cello” series, where she would photograph from still life onto slide film; then by using two slide projectors, would layer the images onto the same surface and reshoot. This analog blending technique is pretty neat.
Life is Compost; Death is Compost. Everything is Alive and Nothing Lasts.
These photographs were all taken this past winter during the two months I was living full time with my mom Shelley as she was dying of sinus cancer.
I was her primary caregiver and was with her when she died by the hands of the MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying) nurses. I held her in my arms as she passed, and spent three days with her corpse before she was cremated. Time bends and slows down around death; and preparing for it (especially when helping your own mother choose the exact date and time of her death) is a very slowed, tedious and fast paced series of peak experiences. We were in Roberts Creek living on the waterfront, and I often took moments to myself down on the beach to photograph the frost on the logs and seaweed in the early morning light. I photographed the mould growing in my brother’s fridge as i helped him move back into his place after our mom died. I heave cried alone on the beach often and watched the sea foam quiver in the cold breeze. I was drawn to the tiniest, prettiest fungus growing from the decay on the forest trails nearly. Before corpses begin to decay, the rigor mortis is really fascinating, and relaxing to be with. Shelley’s body was warm for a long time after she died, then it slowly became cool…over several hours her arms became firm branches…over days the muscles became hard; flesh turned elemental and her whole body became strong and cool and reassuring like an ancient beach rock. Humans are part of nature and the end is not a finality at all.