I absolutely love this series by American artist Evie Woltil Richner. Feathery, delicate drawings lovingly applied to old, family photos – memorializing those who are no longer with us. I would try to explain further, but Evie’s words are so much more powerful:
“…Each of these pieces is a burial, but also a memorial. Working from photographs of deceased relatives, I am physically burying them in a shroud of drawn feathers. Through burial, we acknowledge loss. The person is removed from our lives.
My Grammy, as I always called her, moved in with us when I was in elementary school. She had Alzheimer’s disease and we took care of her. Over time, I could see her memory disappearing. She would forget who people were and repeat the same stories and phrases over and over. She lives now only in my memory and in the memories of those who knew her, but my memories are wispy, like bits of dreams a few hours after you’ve had them. Some of the memories are barely there. I can see only a sliver of them. Afraid of the erosion of my own memory, my creations are also an act of remembrance – remembering my Grammy as she was when she lived with us, and also reconstructing who she might have been before I knew her. Through the ritual of drawing over images of her, I return to thoughts of her again and again.
When finished, the pieces become a signifier, like a gravestone, of a person who once was, and just as gravestones serve to connect us with a loved one after they’ve passed, these pieces are a physical connection I have to her. The feathers specifically reference the cross-cultural symbolism of the bird as a connection between heaven and earth.”
Beautifully said… and beautifully executed.