Honour thy Matriarch: Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s day is truly a wonderful day to honour mothers.  This day is not just for our own mothers, but also for all the great mothers we know. All of these special mothers should receive special treatment today. This Mother’s Day I decided to combine my love for creating art with the love that I have for the most influential mothers in my life, my mother and my grandmother.  I found photographs of both of them and transformed the images into pieces meant to reflect how I view them.

My Mother

Various people have approached me and said, “I love your Mom” or “Your Mom is great”, as well as other phrases of a similar nature. One of my cousins has told me, “Your Mom is my favourite aunt, I love her.” I have heard these types of sentiments on several occasions. People seem to have a natural affinity to my mother, as do I.

I remember when I was 19, I became pregnant and my boyfriend and I had broken up. I remember being in my bedroom crying, because I was pregnant and feeling very alone. My mother softly knocked on the door and entered the room. She placed a hand on my shoulder and said, “You know I’m going to help you right?” I cannot express the feeling of gratitude I had in that moment. True to her word, she helped me with my son, which lessened the challenge of being a single mother through the years. However, my mother is not all softness and compassion, she has another side.

My mother can also be fiery and passionate. One time a racist man on a bus assumed my mother was of First Nations descent. She is not First Nations, she is Filipino. Of course, this did not keep her from responding to the racist comments he directed at her, with respect to First Nations people. When he absurdly told her, “you should go back to where you came from,” my mother had a quick response. My mother said, “My forefathers were in this country, long before yours were. So maybe it is time for you to go back to where you came from.” Everyone on the bus clapped for her and shamed this man into silence. This is the kind of effect my mother had on people. My mother has always marched to her own tune. I wanted her art piece to reflect this free-spirited part of her, the joy she brings to others and also her love for travel:

As I view my mother as a free spirit, I envisioned her having flowers in her hair and her hair blowing in the wind. My mother loves to garden, so flowers had presence in this piece. My mother’s favourite colour is purple, so purple elements were added. Since my mother loves to travel, it seemed natural to place her in a train window. I imagine her being enthralled by the moving scenery from the train window, perhaps the rolling hills of Scotland!

My Grandmother

My grandmother survived the Pacific War. Both of her parents died during the war and she was left to care for her brothers and sisters. The Philippines was occupied by the Japanese at the time and there were checkpoints everywhere which required special passes to go through each checkpoint. My grandmother met some Japanese soldiers who attended her church. The soldiers gave her passes so that she could travel easily. They also gave her milk for the babies. Like my mother, people liked my grandmother, so perhaps these soldiers felt naturally inclined to help her. My grandmother went through so much at a young age, but she found the strength to help herself and others.

My grandmother has influenced many people in her life. After her mother’s passing, my grandmother took over her mother’s teaching post. There was no high school in her village, so she petitioned to have a high school built. Before she left the Philippines, they commenced the building of the high school. As a result, many young boys and girls went to high school and many went on to college and university.

My grandmother loves music and she loves to play her piano. She always looks like she is at peace when she plays the piano. When my grandfather passed away 20 years ago, my grandmother would play her piano and cry on a daily basis. She loved him so very much. I imagine that the piano gave her some level of comfort, even though she was deep in grief. I wanted her picture to capture her love for music and an element of prestige.

To emphasize my views of my grandmother, I placed her in front of a grand piano, as that is the piano that she truly deserves. I remember my grandmother wearing red lipstick when I was younger, so I painted her lips red. Red for me, symbolizes love. Red is also my grandmother’s favourite colour. I painted a pendant necklace with my grandfather’s picture in it, to honour the love my grandmother has for grandfather.

My mother and grandmother are great ladies. I wanted to honour them on this special day. I am lucky to have great relationships with these women. I am certain that many of you know wonderful mothers out there. Whether they are your own mother, sister, aunt, friend, etc., this is the day to pay homage to them and the good they do in this world. I know, that without my mother and my grandmother, I would not be the woman I am today. And to all you great mothers out there, who I do not know, I hope you receive extra special treatment today, because you deserve it!

Happy Mother’s Day!


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