Who is Venus?
My daughter: I struggled a bit with naming this work, but realized identity plays a part — my daughter’s new name. Her name was Carson a year ago, and of course we named her Cassandra. Cassandra was born just before Hurricane Katrina and I mulled over our choice and the premonition of disaster (according to Greek mythology, Cassandra was fated to predict negative events, yet never be believed) but we didn’t change it. After she was born, I sat on the couch nursing her and watching the footage of the hurricane’s impact—mothers with babies in that big dome, running out of formula. The tears streamed from my eyes, my emotions a mix of hormonal reaction and compassion for those mothers.
But now, Venus. It’s interesting we embrace renaming ourselves now. That was never a thought in my mind at her age. My name was OK. There were not “too many” Julie’s in my class. I was almost named Wendy, and was glad I escaped that. But it never occurred to me that I might want to change a central part of my identity that way.
What changed from then to now? How does the concept of identity evolve?
Venus is a Goddess of desire, love and beauty and sometimes victory, directly associated with fertility goddesses in previous incarnations of the role. As a new name for a teenager finding her sexuality, its a bold move, one that still shocks me. But, the kids are all right these days. It’s my job as a parent to embrace and support her identity. Even if it may be something ephemeral and fleeting (documented in this Ephemera Series.)
What role does mental health play, normally unseen? Are we more seen now in the segments of society that tries harder to accept our complexities? Addressing a bit the tangled rootball attached, eyes hidden in the spaces—convoluted, dark twists and turns, as if lifted up and exposed.
“Venus : Ephemera No. 6” drypoint etching, laser cut plates, collograph, and hand colored pencil. All printed on the Vandercook UNI III at Caveworks Press.