Self Portraits: The Memento Mori Hat
memento mori noun (pl.same)
an object serving as a warning or reminder of death
ORIGIN Latin, literally ‘remember (that you have) to die.
These photographs are self portraits of me wearing “The Memento Mori Hat”. Originally, I had given this hat to my Mama for her to wear as a sun shield, to protect her damaged light sensitive eyes from the hard glare of the Texas sun.
When she died in 2005, I brought the hat back to NJ, and there it sat on a shelf until I was invited to a hat party. I decided to transform the basic hat into a collage of elements which would be a living memorial to her: Memento Mori.
Included on the hat is a photograph of Mama and me (on the beach in Galveston,Texas, I am 3 years old), parts of my wedding veil, her favorite flowers (roses) pine cones -the symbol for Eternal Life, regeneration,rebirth and the sun, acorns - a symbol of strength and power, a guardian angel metal and other elements.
My Mama was a talented woman with beautiful eyes the color of the sky. Although she had a visual handicap and was considered “legally blind” she created dresses for me fabricated from Italian linen napkins-without a pattern and without me actually being there to fit the dresses- but they fit me perfectly!
She wrote beautiful poetry, sent me letters with quotes in Latin but most of all encouraged my creativity.
She continues to inspire me and I miss her very much.