Katrina Hawking

Contact Information:

email: katrinahawking@hotmail.com
website: www.katrinahawking.com


Artist Statement:

Work from the nursing home

I sculpt portraits in nursing homes. I began seven years ago while my grandmother was living in a nursing home. She was in the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She could no longer speak or respond to me in any way. I would go to visit her and feel awkward, like I was talking to myself, and I would leave again after a few minutes. So I decided to sculpt her portrait. It took three months working almost every day next to her wheelchair in the nursing home. Spending that amount of time with someone living and dying in a nursing home was a powerful experience and the resulting sculpture reflected some of that experience. So I have continued sculpting residents in nursing homes.

The portraits I create are intended to be a candid but sensitive look at the process of aging and dying. Each portrait represents over sixty hours spent in a nursing home with that person.

The portraits are then cast in bronze. I chose this material for a reason. The bronze portrait plays a specific function in society. It is reserved primarily for people of historical, political or social status; people we respect and idealize. I use bronze to give dignity and respect to the people living in nursing homes. The residents in nursing homes are not in an enviable situation. They face illness and loss of freedom; some face loss of memory or isolation. Yet the people I have sculpted have shown tremendous calm and grace which I find inspiring and worthy of the respect the bronze portrait intends.

George with the Cast (2006)
Bronze 22”x 24”x 20”

Work from the nursing home (detail Gladdy) (2001)
Bronze 24” x 16” x 18”

Jack with the stole (2004)
Bronze 36” x 12” x 13”

Work from the nursing home (detail Edwardine) (2001)
Bronze 24” x 16” x 18”

Work from the nursing home (detail Rachel) (2001)
Bronze 24” x 16” x 18”

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