Estelle (21 yrs old) at Laurel River Lake in Corbin Kentucky, 1946.
Mammaw and I, Christmas 1996
Estelle and Curtis Clark
March 2020- ongoing
collected handkerchiefs; thread
At it’s core the work is a memorial to my great grandmother, my Mammaw, Estelle Clark (B. Lee Country, Virginia; October 16, 1925- D. August 6, 2011). A decade after her death, the handkerchief is the way I can still touch her. I feel the forgotten power in the softness of the hankies. This work is ongoing. I don’t believe that it will ever be finished… I don’t want it to be.
The work is an ongoing mediation to her memory and her difficult and beautiful life.
Estelle was the matriarchal rock of my family, she was the coal miner's daughter who married the miner who was determined to make a life for his family outside of the mines. They worked hard and they made a better life for themselves and their family. Estelle had six miscarriages. Her story was grounded in waking up everyday and working harder than the day before- working to triumph over struggle. As I grew up, and as she passed away when I was 14, I learned more about the darkness embedded within her story. While it was full of love, she had a very difficult life. Even in death, she wasn’t given a fair hand. She died due to complications and a fault in a morphine drip tank in her back.
Documentation video in July 2020