'What I have forgotten could fill an ocean, what is not real never lived'
My mother has a mild intellectual disability as a result of an iodine deficiency she had as a child. No one ever told me this when I was a kid. I grew up seeing many from her family, as well as my father and his side of the family, discriminating and ridiculing her. My aunts would laugh at her and say, “Your mother is mad”. As a young boy I was deeply affected and traumatized by this humiliation my mother had to face. I too was also ashamed being the son of a "mad‟ woman, which made me feel guilty. At times, I hated her for being an imperfect mother and made her cry. As time went by, I slowly got rid of this poisonous stereotyping of my beautiful, caring and innocent mother. I learned that I was wrong to think of her in that way.
I realize now through her letters and her sensitive and unsophisticated writing, she wanted to connect to her son and tell him how fragile and alone she has been. Though affected and torn by suffering and hatred she was subject to, my mother nurtured me with the deepest of affection. She has always inspired me to think differently, appreciated and supported my artistic endeavors and loved me unconditionally even after being hurt by me. I now know my thoughts of her were unjust and the reflection of people around me who didn‟t want or try to understand her. Remembering the hatred and misunderstanding I felt towards Amma now makes me feel guilty and ashamed.
This guilt and shame pushed me into uncovering the deeper feelings I have always hidden away. These images are a way to confess my guilt, and to come to terms with the true feelings I always had for her, the deepest of love, despite my ignorance and insensitivity.
Courtesy Samdani Art Foundation.
Shumon Ahmed will be showing as part of the solo projects at the Dhaka Art Summit 2016.