Hey Friend, the first piece of the year is complete – Mama’s Hopes and Dreams. This year, I’m doing something I haven’t done before. I’m working on multiple pieces at the same time. I’ve got two more pieces that I’m also working on currently. We’ll see how that goes with this new process. Anyways, back to my new piece. Let me tell you about it.
How Mama’s Hopes and Dreams Began
Somewhere in 2020, I was browsing through photographs in the Library of Congress’ Farm Administration database. I saw this photo that disturbed me greatly.
It was the feet of a woman wearing some form of pantyhose with holes all over it. She didn’t have shoes on. This fabric was all that covered her feet. The photographer didn’t show her face – just her worn-out feet. The description that went with the photo read, “Feet of a Negro woman who together with 2 children runs a rented farm.” I was emotionally distraught when I saw the photo and read the caption. I thought about that photo for days.
I knew the faceless woman in the photograph wouldn’t have appreciated the way she was portrayed. Just like any other mother, I knew this mama had hopes and dreams for who she wanted her children to become. Her aspirations for her children was certainly not what was captured in that photograph.
The more I thought about who she may have been, what she wanted in life and how she would have wanted to raise her children, I thought of all the mothers I know. I was convinced that this faceless woman wanted more from life for her children than she was ultimately able to provide for them.
Braiding time is usually bonding time
Thinking of her conjured up images of intimate moments mothers have with their children while styling their hair. I remember my own mother braiding my hair and putting colorful hair clips in it. In the same tradition, I braided my daughter’s hair every weekend for church and for school in the upcoming week. Braiding time is usually bonding time. In those moments spent between mother and daughter, we share our dreams, hopes and aspirations for each other.
Honoring and Empowering Women Through Art
I created this piece to honor this faceless mama’s hopes and dreams. Here’s to all the things she dreamed of as she looked at her children everyday. I think every mother can relate to this mama’s hopes and dreams. It’s not about how she looked, or what she wore. It’s about what was in her heart.
Friend, whether it’s your mother or for your daughter, I bet you have some hopes and dreams of whom you’ll like them to be and the experiences you hope they’ll have.
What resonates with you about this piece? Anything? Drop your comments below.
Beth Berman says
Very powerful Clara. Your work is reaching new heights and your creativity seems boundless. Brava!
Clara Nartey says
Thank you my friend.
Grandmothers too. Thank you.
Clara Nartey says
Donna, you’re right. Grandmothers do too. My grandma absolutely adored me and had great hopes and dreams for me, no matter what.