My daughter, the surrogate
An Oscar for my daughter, the surrogatepolished bronze, 37x19x16cm
In 2014 my daughter Tamar, mother of 4 young children, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and handed her
over to her genetic parents. A couple of years earlier, she had decided, together with her husband, to carry a child for a childless couple who could conceive but could not carry an embryo to term. Through her doctor friend, she found a suitable young man and woman, and had their fetus implanted in her uterus. She (wisely) only shared this with us, her parents, after it was a fait accompli.
We were speechless at first, but since then have been bursting with pride, as we observed her injecting herself daily for 6 weeks so that her uterus would not reject the foreign body in it; attending meetings with lawyers, social workers, court officials, rabbis, psychologists, etc., and at term handing over this miracle gift and then quietly continuing with her own life.
I produced this sculpture as a take on Oscar awards for the film industry. My daughter was touched to receive it from me, and keeps her cast in her bedroom. I am happy to be reminded by this sculpture of Tamar’s selfless gift of life.
My daughter the surrogatecollage, graphite 37x52cm
A ritual object for my pregnant daughterpapier mâché, gold leaf 10x35x35cm
I designed a piece to hold a distillation of some of my thoughts towards my daughter, when she was expecting her first child. In particular, I sought to give expression to a kind of watchful responsibility that I felt, and I intended the work as an initiation piece or mark of passage as my daughter moved into the next phase of her life. She was already an individual, a Jew, a woman and a wife, and she was soon to become a mother.
For these 5 areas of life I created a set of nesting plates that are out of balance, symbolising the difficulty of holding all aspects of life appropriately aligned all the time. As one area gains dominance, another shifts to the background, and of the 5, motherhood offers the greatest challenge of all.
I have chosen as symbols an eye, to represent the individual, the innermost identity; a pair of candlesticks to represent Judaism; a bra to represent womanhood; a wedding ring to symbolise marriage; and a baby stroller as a token of motherhood, the latest and outermost identity.
I do not expect to teach my daughter anything that she does not already know, but I do hope to encourage her with the insight that the balance between these identities changes all the time, and that that is alright.