The project gave us a common ground. It was something we could talk about that was of genuine interest to me and flattering to him. We talked about people and places, and his memories of feelings and thoughts over the long course of his life.
My father was a “subject who remembered.” My depiction shows him as I knew him—with his strengths and his vulnerabilities, his flaws and his virtues, his insights and his ignorance, neither all-good nor all-bad, just real.
One is a photograph of my mother from the 1940s. She looks quite beautiful except for the piece now torn from her face. I felt annoyed. Why did he glue these precious photographs together? For Andres, the grandchild, the photographs were glued one atop the other, a single stack. It became my job to detach them, my task also with this story—to pull apart, rearrange, preserve, even tear in some places—and tell a story and a history that are at once separate and together. I would work with what remained.