MamaBlogger365 – Reflections of Global Motherhood Though the Eyes of a Mother, Artist and Third Culture Kid by Aiya Art
We are so pleased to present the first installment of Aiya Art’s special, 10-week online art exhibit (each Wednesday) for the Museum of Motherhood! We are so touched by her work and hope you will be too.
Over the next ten weeks I will be sharing with you a glimpse of my own journey into motherhood. Each of us has a unique perspective of what it means to be a mother, influenced by those around us and the culture we live in. It is a piece of fabric that fits into the quilt of global motherhood. I want to share with you through art, stories and memories my own personal patch of that quilt.
It seems fitting to begin this journey with my own Mother, Doris Kuegler. She was born in 1941, in Germany during World War II. By the time the war ended in 1945, her Mother had died of typhoid and her father, a socialist, was still in hiding due to his anti-Nazi sentiments. My mother was five years old, living and scavenging for food amidst the rubble with hundreds of other homeless children.
She ultimately survived those early years to become a nurse, a theologian, and then a mother.
I have two distinct early memories of my mother:
The first, in the streets of Katmandu, the capital of Nepal. I must have been four or five years old, holding on to my mother’s hand, walking along the side of the street when a woman approached us with a newborn baby. To my horror the woman tried to give the baby to my mother saying, “Please, take my baby, I don’t want it.” I expressed my sentiments loudly to my mother who gently took me aside and explained that which I could not comprehend, a mother who loved her child so much that she would willingly give it up to a strange white woman on the streets knowing it would have enough food to eat and a future to live.
The second, on my mother’s birthday, a man came down from the mountains. We were living in the village of Hatitunga in the foot hills of the Himalayan Mountains. The man was covered in blood; on his back strips of flesh hung loose. He had been attacked and critically injured by a bear during the night. Even though close to death, he had managed to find his way back to the village. I watched as my mother gentled cleaned and bandaged his wounds, gave him food and medicine, then sat next to him watching and waiting to see if he would survive. He did, and for the next few weeks, I helped my mother change his bandages every few days.
Doris Kuegler never had an example of what a good mother should be, yet she had the strength to reach beyond her frame of reference and teach her children what it takes to be a loving, fearless and courageous mother. She has taught me what it takes to be a mother.
I look forwarding to sharing more of my insights both artistically and verbally over the next several weeks.
Artist Statement: At art school in Europe I was often accused of my creations being too primal – in part because I love rich, saturated colors, in part because much of my subject matter was related to the remote tropical jungle of New Guinea and the Stone Age tribe I lived with.
I make no apologies for this. I grew up where life was short, brutal, and precious. In the vast sea of green that is the tropical forest, vivid color most often represents new life, whether it be an exquisite orchid, a birdwing butterfly, or the fantastic dance of a bird of paradise. And because this life is fleeting, I choose to portray it in all its splendour.
Encaustic art has captured my soul. While I have always enjoyed oil, and the vast repertoire of technique available to the artist, one of its strengths, to me, is also a weakness. Oils allow reflection, correction, ongoing refinement of the concept. Wax, on the other hand, is like a living being. The physics of a briefly molten solid dictate that no work can be reproduced, and that even after many years of experience, each stroke of a hot iron or stylus is only part skill. There is no second chance in encaustics. An errant stroke, a moment of inattention or indecision leaves the work destroyed. I have to abandon it or recreate it from the beginning.
So I paint from my soul. Through wax I express my deepest feelings; I leave my rational mind behind and briefly guide the color in the hope that I will evoke a spiritual response of sorts. I see earth as a mother, a giver of life. I feel that to truly nurture we have to be cognizant of nature in all its splendour; have discovered some sense of connectedness to the universe we are part of, yet at the same time be awestruck by its vastness.
Our society tries hard to be structured, to be rational. Largely we succeed at this. So I hope my art evokes something primal, something basic, deep and pure.
Bio: Though born in Germany to German parents, Judith Kuegler grew up among tribal communities in Nepal and Indonesia. Her interest in creating art began at a very early age and is profoundly influenced by her multicultural upbringing. After attending Art College in German she moved to the US to continue her studies in art and psychology. Judith works as an artist and writer specializing in global women’s issues, multiculturalism and anthropology. She lives with her two sons in North Carolina.
Her work has been featured in a variety of publications such as, Victoria Magazine, American Scientist, Motherverse, Juno, Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering and New Beginnings. Judith participates in group and solo gallery shows as well the Carrboro and Hillandale Art Walks, MOMart and Whimsical Women. Her blog about art, motherhood and everything in between can be found at http://judithkuegler.wordpress.com
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