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I wear her on my skin. A thought, a moment, which I cannot escape. Etched into me, her face mine and mine hers, I wonder what she thought when she looked at me. A name is only a name, and hers is mine, leaving a lingering feeling of regret that I never knew her. Now I place her on my skin, trying to find her again. Laying myself bare to my history and searching desperately for answers. How has this family history affected me and who I am? How does it affect me as an artist, [End Page 11] teacher, and researcher? My name is passed on through generations, but what else can we gain from our past?
With this work I build layers. Layers that bring me closer but also separate me from my past. Transferring information over and over again. Through the process of making family photographs digital, printing them, creating a gel transfer on my body, and creating a photograph, which was then silver printed, each step removes me from the original. This process mirrored the search for a history long forgotten, questioning where I come from and compiling from various sources the history of my family. I became an active part of my history, able in this way to change its meaning. A third-generation teacher, I wonder how these voices flow through mine. I know they do, I hear them sometimes, overlapping my discourse and sometimes overtaking it. It shapes who I am. This work attempts to make visible the invisible, to affix my history to me. This work examines my identities as artist/researcher/teacher through the process of making my family history my own.