After my mother, Penny, died of breast cancer in 2012 at the age of 51, I began my ‘Quietus’ series, making casts of my bosom and trying to play with comfort, femininity and decay.
I struggled with how our culture deals with death. Saying goodbye to someone shouldn’t cost £3,000 with strangers in suits escorting them to their final resting place, unless that’s what the person would have liked. For most people, I can’t imagine something more impersonal, and as me and my brother arranged our mother’s funeral it felt almost forced to have all of these traditional, ugly and sterile additions to her service.
When I talk about my ‘Quietus’ series, nearly always, someone talks to me about their own grief, which is exactly what I want: it acts as a vehicle to really discuss our mortality and fears in a way that hopefully excites you as to how fantastic life is, but also its fragility and natural process. I guess the work to me, is a dedication to her life that is in its new phase.