Lilly’s Mask

Suzanne Cobb, 2021.

I remember opening my grandmother Lilly’s matryoshka dolls on the carpet of her apartment when I was just old enough to walk. She taught my mother to sew, and then me. In my adult hands, these nesting dolls represent family, matrilineality, and the connections that exist across generations. Lilly’s Mask addresses the vulnerability of seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects that isolation is having on families. The dolls are separated, bubbled away and suspended in the air, protected by their masks and by the knowledge threaded around them. I included lines of connection in my images as we are connected through our stories even in isolation. When we are alone we reflect. We remember those threads of knowledge passed down to us. What she taught me about our culture, the stories she told me, and the wisdom she shared are all sewn into my memory. While we cannot be next to each other today, our histories and memories keep us threaded together.

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