Andrea Dezsö is a mixed media artist from New York whose work includes illustration, paper cutting, ceramics, mosaic more. Her 2006 series, Lessons from my Mother, illustrates the wisdom passed down by her mother.
“Lessons From My Mother” consists of 48 individual cotton squares that contain tales, for better or worse, of how life can treat you. Each piece stands alone as a pearl of wisdom, but combined they create an overarching narrative that is darkly defensive of womanhood.
I think these are terrific pieces of work. The style of them is simple, yet effective. The content varies from the sublime to the ridiculous, but it all seems perfectly plausible as the wisdom of a Transylvanian mother.
The stories we are told are massively influential, and as these tales move through the generations, they can become gospel. If everyone is told that men only like certain types of women, it runs the risk of becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.
What’s interesting about Andrea’s collection is that there are some useful points hidden within there; old wives’ tales about health and hygiene that might have had some merit. But there is also a sense that her mother liked to twist the wisdom towards the dramatic, perhaps to drive the messages home.
Andrea Dezsö has gone on to create many amazing works, including award winning subways installations, and her Instagram shows that her creativity is still vibrant. It is definitely worth exploring her website to enjoy the sheer variety of art she has produced. Her embroidery still pops up on occasion…
… but the Lessons From My Mother series is something that merits another exploration. It would be interesting to see what other wisdom would be found nearly 20 years later.
If you like embroideries that explore tainted wisdom, then the Tiny Pricks project is a must-see!