In exploring the theme “Lifeʼs Blood” it had so many meanings and connections that my collective works might seem to jump around a bit.
First and foremost is the connection of being a mother. Only women have periods and being a woman for me, in my set of experiences meant that I had to bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, cut the grass, repair broken toys and hearts and cars and homes, on my own. My daughters father left us with no form of support and I for most of my life worked several jobs at a time, many of them hard labor so as to make more per hour but still having to work an extra 20 hrs a week bar tending or waiting tables to do it on my own. I say on my own but my mother helped me with watching my daughter a lot and all the other things associated with raising children, i.e. food, clothing, stability. The problem with that is that she always held it against me as a failure. Even as I put myself through school and worked 60 hr/week and won several scholarships, I was still a failure at being a mother, and in many ways I agree with her. There were many days I saw my daughter an hour in the morning and that was it. Ultimately I failed big time for many years of her life not being able to be “it all” and falling into depression and substance abuse. But she remained my gravity and it was for love of her alone that I pulled myself out of it. My daughter doesn't think I failed so bad but children are very forgiving.
Another aspect to me is related to the ﬁrst aspect “a womanʼs work is never done”. It's about being plugged into a machine I have no control of and can't detach from. I don't feel I'm alone in my generation to feel this either. I think it is sort of a trend that developed with woman's liberation and women in the work force but still having to maintain all of the household chores from before. It took a few decades for women to start pushing back on that and insisting men start cooking, cleaning and actually raising children. I think men are more and more enjoying being involved in those day to day things that strengthen the bonds between them and their children and feel that this is a good thing.
The ﬁnal and much more depressing aspect that Lifeʼs Blood invoked in me was for the ﬁrst time ever to deal with my experiences as a child survivor of sexual, emotional and physical abuse from my father, through my art. I intentionally never allowed him into that place so sacred to me as it served as the door he couldnʼt force open or make ugly and I felt some power in keeping him away. I am a much better person than he could ever have ruined though and Iʼm not afraid of him any more. Scarred yes, but as odd as I know it sounds to some, I am proud of those scars because Iʼve overcome so much and can still love. I choose to believe that everything, including that, happens for a reason and I have chosen that reason to be making me a stronger better person. I believe this because to just believe I was unlucky gives me nothing to grow and heal from. I can even ﬁnd a tiny touch of forgiveness for him if I look at the soul purpose of his life was to make mine hell so that my soul could learn to forgive even the worst of crimes and to allow each other to fail and be human. I have gotten pretty good at forgiving others their trespasses, but not yet attained the nirvana of self-forgiveness. Maybe I can ﬁnd some of that too in my further examination of “Lifeʼs Blood”
In conclusion Iʼd like to thank Jennifer Weigel for her friendship and support and for letting me butt in on this project that captured my imagination.
Here are some images of Janiece Senn's work.