Katrina Miller Hawking
Edwardine with Head Brace
12 x 12 x 10 in.
The sculptural portraits I create in local nursing homes are intended to be a candid but sensitive look at the process of aging and dying within a health care institution. These portraits focus on the individuals who live within the nursing care system.
Each portrait I create represents over sixty hours spent in a nursing home with an individual, sculpting on site. The portraits are then cast in bronze. Historically the bronze portrait plays a function in society. It is reserved primarily for people of political or social status, people we respect and idealize. I use bronze to give dignity and respect to the people living in nursing homes.
When I display this work I mount the portraits below eye level, at approximately seated height. Viewers must sit, kneel or bend down in order to see them closely. It is the same with nursing home residents. You can only see them up close if you take the time to bend down. By asking viewers to bend down, I am inviting them into a relationship with the portraits and also asking them to consider the process of aging and dying in a nursing home more fully.
© Katrina Miller Hawking