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Picture showing a wardrobe and fish against a yellow and blue background.

Mother and Child. 2012

Every picture tells a story, but whose, and about what?

About this picture …

The background is a sunny beach. The yellow represents the sand; the blue is the sea and sky.

The wardrobe represents my mother. She had a concern for physical appearance that bordered on obsession. She spent a lot of time on her hair, clothes and make-up, trying to look glamorous; but only when she went out.

The fish represents me.

As a child I was criticised a lot by adults, particularly my mother, especially about the way I looked, but also about what I said, how I said it, what I did and didn’t do. Etc etc.

Growing up, I always felt I was in the wrong place. At home, I felt scared and rejected. At Chailey I felt scared and rejected.

The inspiration for this picture is a black and white photograph taken on the beach at Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex. I was five years old.

In the photograph I’m struggling to hold myself up. I’m extremely thin, ill with a second bout of TB Spine. I’m smiling, of course.

My mother relaxes in a deck chair, wearing sun glasses. Composed. Posing.

The point about these pictures and this blog is about finding images that speak to a deeper truth.

I’m not sure how healthy this is, or if it is a good use of my time. This is a genuine and lifelong worry.

Is there something else (better) I should be doing?

PS. The fish is made of wood. It's beautiful, I think. I bought a whole shoal of them, twenty odd years ago, from Reading International Solidarity Centre.

 

 

Posted by Deborah Caulfield, 26 March 2012

Last modified by Deborah Caulfield, 27 March 2012