'Where I End, and You Begin' by Margaret Albaugh
The Cornel/Henry Art is thrilled to introduce Margaret Albaugh and her poignant project about motherhood!
Margaret Albaugh (BA, University of California, Davis) is a photographic artist with a background in Psychology based in Spokane, Washington. Her artistic approach explores her experience of motherhood and the fears she has of herself. “I struggle every day inside my mind, battling with what I learned to say and what I want to say. There's a narrative in society that intergenerational trauma and depression look like sadness. And the cure, people think, is joy. And while there is joy in motherhood, our society assumes motherhood is only joy – a Madonna-esque sacrifice that cumulates in the purest of happiness. But these issues can reveal itself in many ways in a mother - as loneliness, rage, frustration, hopelessness, apathy. Motherhood, caregiving of any kind, does not solve this.”
Her project, a mix of documentary and staged images, reflects how she sees her maternal energy and what she fears her children will inherit from her. “I was an angry child wavering in and out of depressive episodes my whole life. I didn’t want kids. I didn’t know how to raise kids. I've seen only the worst in myself - my rage, my inwardness, my anxiety. And sometimes I see that in the interactions of my daughters whether it is truly there or not.” But, Margaret did have kids. As she documented their lives, there were images where she saw her anger pouring out through their little bodies. The way they stood beside each other, or more often, over each other. She photographed their curiosities, their magical imaginations, their frustrations. She collected images they took with a children’s camera – small hints of their vantage point. All these images showed her what they learned from their mother. And what was their own.
“This has given me the grace to see myself as a mother differently, as human, which has never felt allowed. If I let them, I know they will find their way to tenderness. There is more to them than what I fear. They came from my body, but they are not me. My children are becoming their own people. They are in the pollen in a puddle, the hot embers rushing into the cool night. And this is how I know… somewhere here, I end, and they begin.” - Margaret Albaugh