My parents had an extremely toxic relationship for 23 years. Primarily because of my dad’s abuse towards my mom physically, emotionally, and mentally. Many things remind me daily of what once was of their relationship, wondering back to myself what things would have been like growing up with both parents present like my sisters did. Of all objects that represent their relationship, I sympathize most with a wardrobe in our guest room filled with a bunch of never worn garments my mother bought for herself in the 80s. These were never worn because my father would shame my mother whenever she wanted to dress up and feel beautiful, leaving my mom with low self esteem to ever touch them again. Three decades later, these gorgeous outfits still survive in our home never worn with tags on and all. The only reason why my mom hasn’t thrown them out is because of the thought on how much money she spent on these clothes when she had the privilege to finally spoil herself with her own money back in the 80s.
Considering that there’s nothing but bad memories attached to these outfits, I decided to take the opportunity to be the first one to wear them and create new memories for them through self portraits. Although I’m trying to give the clothing a new context I also don’t want to erase it’s significance, because whilst shooting I couldn’t not think about my father’s abuse either. In these photos I am both my mom and I. I’m existing as my mom in places my father only wanted her to be in to cater to him: in the house as his maid (while not at work). But I exist here as my mother’s daughter, rebelling against my dad with finally wearing the clothes he never wanted her to. I haven’t spoken to my dad in almost a year on top of the fact that he had already been pretty inconsistent in my life. This is why only Vilma and Priscilla exist in these portraits, because it truly has always just been my mom and I.