My mom is a sculptor. This weekend, Luca and I (and 300 other friends and family members) attended an exhibit of her pieces at the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico City. The show celebrated 40 years of her work. Her life as I know it.
The sculptures I grew up with – the ones that started up as bent rods and inert lumps of clay and became sinewy horses, warriors, dancers – were displayed all over the garden of this beautiful place, among oranges and lemon blossoms, bougainvilleas and peacocks strutting and showing off their elaborate feathered tails. The sculptures stood like a defiant, metallic album of my childhood, growing up among the clay, the casts and the dust in her studio above my room.
The word “retrospective” honors an artist’s past work. I don’t think the Museum fully grasped the meaning of this proposition. The work represented in the bronze outlines that are a result of my mother’s prolific life are gleaming black green shadows. Her real work is the people who walked among them. All of us: her friends, their children (now my own soul-friends) my brothers and sisters, my father and Tomas.
You see, in varying degrees, we are all a result of the life my mother sculpted. We have all been shaped by those big hands. The sculptures, muscle and movement; and the flesh and blood men and women we have all somehow become. We have in common the gloriously deranged privilege of having caught a glimpse of the world through my mother’s eyes.
As proud as I am of this weekend, I am not ready for my mother’s life to be a retrospective. She’s not done. All her life she has spoken of heroism. Of crossing the Earth on a winged chariot, of a man’s reach exceeding his grasp, of defying the odds, of showing the world that the rules that apply to humanity do not apply to her and those under her wings. She owes us, owes me, at least another 40 years of intense, inspired creation.