Mama, Are You Proud of Me?

Reba Jenson

2019 - 2020

Texas, United States

When I was seven years old, my mother died. "Mama, Are You Proud of Me?" is my journey of reconciliation with the questions that haunt me after her death. The psychological trauma I initially faced became compounded when I learned later that she died due to medical malpractice. With my known reality shattered, these inquiries became even more prominent in the minutiae of daily life as I began to process her death again.

From the initial moment of my mother’s passing, many questions, ranging from what my mom would think of me if she were alive to questions about my heritage, had already risen within me. Finding out the truth of how she really died changed and multiplied these questions about my memories and feelings surrounding her death. Like how do I grow from finding out this new truth, and if knowing that truth was worth the emotional weight?

In my photographs, the abstractions of the body and mundane objects I construct, mold the psychic landscape these questions inhabit within me. Real and implied fragments of the body swell within my actualized mindscape as I enact the presence of my mother’s absence in my life. This emphasized disembodiment reveals the indelible marks death, especially one so concerned with the destruction and reconstruction of the body, has inscribed upon my mind.

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