Ideas of impermanence have always compelled me as my parents were refugees from Europe, each having experienced a lot of loss. My father was very frugal and always wore shirts with holes in them. With a spirit of acceptance, pointing to the hole he would say, “This is life.” My mother grew up in Berlin in a wealthy family of artists and intellectuals, with sixteen servants and two nannies, one to braid the right side and the other to braid the left side of her hair. In 1939 she was put on a train by herself to Holland with two potatoes in her overcoat pocket. Perhaps because of their histories I have collected and photographed remnants; pieces that tell of something more. I grew up aware of the sorrows of my parents’ backgrounds, and their stories are undercurrents in my work. Yet, a lighter side of loss is there too. Like a dandelion that has gone to seed, one wanderer’s exhale or one light wind and it’s gone forever.
All images and text © Ruth Lauer Manenti
By Ruth Lauer Manenti
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