When I first saw this artwork during Art Stage 2017, I did not see the grief or the anger.
My initial reaction was “Wow! What a woman she must be to take care of a child during such disastrous times”. When I got home, that was when I saw the art piece came alive.
I showed the picture to my mother, who with tears in her eyes simply said; The pain and love of a mother.
Suddenly, Nurse became hauntingly beautiful.
We often see the dramatization of a mother’s pain through loud cries, big movements and overacting. But this artwork… It just let the eyes say it all.
All other features are muted but the eyes have the most details. They are expressing an anger and pain that no mother deserves to go through : the loss of a child. Its begging you to bring it back, to bring it back to her, alive and kicking. Yet fully aware that it is impossible.
The emotions hits you harder when you look at the child. That little open mouth by the right breast.
It is such an innocent and pure gesture. Every child opens its mouth and turns its head towards its mother to be nourished by her.That moment of bonding between the mother and child as she feeds it, both oozing with love and adoration that most women crave for, is taken away from this mother. The nipple is missing. Signifying the end of the relationship between the mother and the child. At least the physical relationship.
But this is just the end that we see here.
Could you imagine the journey?
The nightmare that mothers have to go through as they watch their children battle and leap towards death and not be able to do anything about it.
I am sure that at one point all mothers say the same prayer, whatever their religion.
“Dear Lord, let it be me instead”