...For weeks awhile back, work was manifesting itself in the context of updating/transferring my family tree from one software to another with my mother, and reminiscing... absorbing, celebrating, understanding. Remembering old losses and coming to terms with those that still feel fresh and recent. Accepting relationships that are NOT going to CHANGE. Making new friendships with family members I have yet to meet. All in the process of realizing, some of who "WE" are, and who I am in the mix of all the B_’s, and W_’s, W_’s, V_’s and C_’s.
Gathering names and images of people connected to you is almost scary. At some point it feels unending. Every turn produces another set of names, another set of faces. Getting around to the newly formed takes a back seat to finding the roots of… where we came from. I see faces jumping generations. Eyes, skin, hair, all surfacing like fragments in pools of water, rearranging themselves with a certain fluidity that’s hard to pin down, but there all the same… No denying. Personas must come forward too. No ways to say just how. Still the idea has given me pause and made me look deeper at myself and my actions. Have I been disillusioned all these years…?
I have always thought the internal face was “the” pure one… At the conscious level we all have many facades. Ones for home, for school or work, friends, and special-occasions, even spouses and significant others… At this point however, I am starting to think the inner masks are even more diverse and complex.
The above image is by Richard Avedon (American Photographer, 1923–2004). It is of the great contralto Marian Anderson. I love this image, particularly in relationship to the idea of the inner personas and external survival. Eyes closed, drawing on the depth of who she knew herself to be… What must it have taken for Marian to stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that Easter Sunday in April 1939 after the being rejected by The Daughters of the American Revolution…?
PERSONA. Popular etymology derives it from the Latin word "per" meaning "through" and "sonare" meaning "to sound," or, something in the vein of "that through which the actor speaks", i.e. a mask. …In communications, the term is given to describe the versions of self that all individuals possess. Behaviors selected according to the desired impression an individual wishes to create when interacting with other people, according to the social environment. In particular the persona presented before others will ultimately differ from that an individual presents when he/she happens to be alone.
Given my recent observations of myself I am convinced that different internal personas are also presented to the self for somewhat the same reasons…. This idea intrigues me. So I have decided to explore it in a series of mixed media art… I am interested to see where it will lead…