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ode to mom

oh mother, what planet is this (2021)

by: Juno

about the artist:

My name is Jasmine Choi, I'm a 2nd year UBC arts student who has already dropped out once and is indecisively going into Sociology, Anthropology, and/or Visual Arts.

about the artwork:

book/journal

My mom and I are parallel.

My other family members comment on it quite a bit how similar we are in terms of personality and temperament. It's been a blessing and a curse at times, depending on when during my life you would ask me. We're both very quiet but strong individuals, she passed down to me our shared maternal traits of stubbornness, devotion, sensitivity, and an intense love. Because of our similarities, we understand each other on a very abstract, ethereal way - but at the very same time our resemblance spawns a lot of tension, stubbornness, and volatile emotions.

Our parallels also extend from our personalities to our bodily circumstances. Our relationship was taken to another level when she had breast cancer. Later on, I found a lump in my own breast. (We both turned out okay!). We slowly started to realize all the other things we had in common: depression, mania, (a warped concept of) femininity, etc. At that point, it wasn't just our minds and temperaments that were parallel but also our bodies. I was able to tap into a kind of empathy and connection that only my mother and I shared.

I was interested not only in our relationship, but also other hereditary relationships that have informed the environment of ours. At the time I made this work, I was living with both my mom and my grandma (her mom), and so there were many thoughts running through my head about our lineage, how my mom's relationality with her mom has informed mine, and how my mom and I's relationship will inform my possible future daughters. I wanted to explore in particular, the parallels between childhood and motherhood, and I did so by exploring my own memories and talking with my mom.

The work is meant to capture some of my own perspectives on motherhood, but more notably how my experiences meshes with and is informed by my mother's childhood and life. I also want to mention the somewhat quiet vitality of my grandmother in this work. She has alzheimer’s and a complex, spirited relationship with my mother, and so it was their relationship that sparked questions of intergenerational trauma and memory. In this work, I question my own ideas of memories (or the loss of it), genetic inheritance, legacy, and motherhood.

I could go on with more details but that's the gist of it; so far, at least.