My nana died of breast cancer in 2010. As those of you on social media will know, there’s been a mass posting of ‘naked selfies’ in order to raise awareness and money for cancer research. One day, I went on Facebook, and my cousin had nominated me and with her selfie she had posted a dedication to my nana, and my great nana (who died in 2012 of cancer-related complications). Although I support the awareness and money raised for cancer research, the dedication my cousin had posted niggled at a part of my brain. To me, a naked selfie was too easy, too simple, to show how much the loss impacted me and us as a family.
This portrait is drawn from the last photo I took of my nana, with her headscarf and her clip on earring in the style of the Johannes Vermeer ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’. It’s a portrait that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but my frustration and emotional involvement have meant I’ve given up many times. This isn’t a perfect painting, but it’s my dedication to my nana.
Oil paint on cardboard