HANKIES Laser prints, acrylic, beading, batting, embroidery and quilting on vintage handkerchiefs
In this self-portrait series I’m investigating the nature of my Self, which seems to be a mixture of my feelings, thoughts, my deteriorating body and a strong connection to my mother in the guise of her trove of vintage family handkerchiefs that I wore in the breast pocket of my Catholic grammar school uniform. This work is a study of identity as seen through my bathroom mirror, based on 89 photographs that I took on consecutive days in 2009. At the time, I identified my emotion, embodied that feeling on my face, wrote it in lipstick on my forehead and snapped a selfie. I laser printed the 89 photos on Mom’s hankies, and slowly quilted, beaded and painted on the handkerchiefs for ten years during quiet times alone, or sitting with friends. 89 is the number of years my mother lived.
Cecelia Kane’s How Am I Feeling Today (2009–2020) is composed of 89 mixed-media self-portraits on handkerchiefs. Kane began this work in 2009 by photographing herself in the mirror daily after asking herself about her state of mind. She wrote her answer on her forehead in lipstick and then snapped a photo. Kane laser-printed each photo onto 89 vintage family handkerchiefs from her mother that Kane wore in the breast pocket of her Catholic-grammar-school uniform. She added elements of embroidery, paint and collage to make mixed-media self-portraits that are intimately revelatory of her psyche.
Kane spent 11 years beading and embroidering these works. She stopped at 89 — the age to which her mother lived — to be hung together. How Am I Feeling Today is very much in tune with these pandemic times when we all are experiencing personal struggles yet have time for reflection.