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Serce Matki #3

Serce Matki #3

Claudia Pawlak

“Serce Matki” (Mother’s Heart), or alternatively titled, “Most Importantly, Love Your Mother”, is a photographic body of work created during 2019 which explores the evolution of the mother-daughter relationship from co-dependency to two self-sustaining women.

Serce Matki is derived from the poem “Kochaj róże, kochaj bratki, a najbardziej serce matki” (I love roses, I love pansies, but the most important is my mother's heart). This is a mantra of sorts - used by Polish children throughout generations as a verbal or written confession of love.

During the creation of this work, I was processing my changing relationship with my mother, acknowledging that our relationship had reached a critical shift. Throughout my entire life, I’ve witnessed a woman choosing to place the needs of her children before her own, now living in and through them. I began exploring my mother’s archives of letters, photographs, and documents from her home country of Poland, seeking to understand her identity outside the constructs of motherhood.

The result is a series of photographs piecing together the material evidence of her life and experiences, portraits featuring moments between myself, my mother, and my sister, as an attempt to understand her identity today. In completing this work, I am creating my own poem for my mother, a visual essay about validating the sacrifice of our mother’s heart.