I few years ago I made a plaster cast of my face. (Or my two sisters did) The old-time process is hard to endure for the recipients, applying coats of Vaseline all over the face and neck, ensuring the plaster mold will come off easily, putting straws up your nostrils (worse than Covid test) so you can breathe while waiting in agony for the plaster to dry, waiting for the plaster to set while your skin is itching, and the heat is rising under this blanket of heavy plaster. One can get claustrophobic using this old-time method. But it works!
When that plaster cast sets up, the next step is pouring fresh plaster into the negative mold to get the positive image. And “voila” you have the exact replica of the recipient facial features!
This plaster face mold, my face, lay in my studio for years until one day I got inspired by the Greek and Roman busts that I saw at the Tampa Museum. Those amazing marbled carved heads intrigued me. Especially the wavey rows of hair and the penetrating hollowed eyes staring out without expression.
I created my version of the Greek/Roman heads, and I called my piece, “Taking my Selfie for a Walk.”
And that is what I did…..!
I took it out of the confines of the box and carried it to familiar places in the St. Petersburg area and took a “selfie”. It sat with my grandson on the benches along the beach front, it found a nesting place beside the trees and into the gardens and among the roots of an old Ficus tree. It went to the Dali Museum, where I completed my internship for my master’s degree. It found its place amongst the Spanish rocks, in front of the “closed sign” and by the glass window.
I moved it to places that meant something to my development as an artist and my diverse orientation to two different worlds. Now my selfie is in my new studio waiting for the next episode of ‘Taking My Selfie for a Walk”.
At the Dali
My head represents the history and complexities of a divided culture and my blended family. Like the high ridges of the Jamaican Blue Mountains, the hair on the selfie represents the span of ocean that separates the two different cultures; a familiar body of water travelled over many times back and forth to my two homes. I divided the face down the middle creating on the left a collage of maps of St. Petersburg and on the right maps of Jamaica intersected with bronze colored paper representing the culture and people of Jamaica. It illustrates my “crossing over” and “migrating” to a different culture.
I want the piece to inspire people to not be afraid to explore different cultures and to experience the richness of learning about our differences. I want people to understand the need to dispel cultural disparities. My blended family should be honored and acceptable in all places.