Visual Biographies is an exhibit that partners artists with the senior residents of The Lakeshore apartments in southeast Seattle. The residents shared their stories and the artists created a Visual Biography of the elder. My partner was Mary Cross.
I smiled at the irony when I first heard my resident partner’s name. After our first phone call I laughed in spite of myself. It was a little bit like the classic skit “who’s on first”. After the initial confusion, we settled on an understanding that our names are very similar, and got on to the business of sharing. We live in a world of uncertainty, and a time of entitlement and indulgence. The openhearted bravery of the residents to allow strangers in to write their story is awe-inspiring. I believe it is an adventurous and courageous act. I was pleased to have the opportunity to spend time with Mary Cross. She was open and compassionate even in the face of being unsure at times as to why I was there and what I was going to do. I feel the best way to honor her and her willingness to partake in this journey is to simply create her portrait. She is a complex individual yet simple in nature, strong yet fragile. It seemed appropriate to create her portrait out of metal, a material that can be both fragile yet strong at the same time. I hope the portrait does her justice and features these traits in a positive way. Thank you Mary Cross for spending time with me, Mary Coss, and sharing your story.