Following the ‘Win a Study’ competition in the October issue of Expatriates Magazine, American portait artist Moe Delaitre has been working closely with competition winner Donna Heryawan and her daughter Harper. After 4 live sessions and 2 months the study is complete. Speaking of the study, Heryawan commented, “ I can’t believe she did this in just two months”.
The competition asked contestants to submit a photograph along with the reason it’s special. When looking through the entries, Donna’s submission struck Moe for its honesty:
“Being a mother is something I was not prepared for both emotionally and physically. I struggled for more than a year to feel that extraordinary love that everyone speaks of. Sure I loved my daughter from the minute I knew I was carrying her. But that extra all consuming love I could not comprehend.
I spoke to my daughter all the time, sang to her, was conscious of all my behaviours in front of her because I knew she would emit into the world whatever I invested into her in these early years. For most of the time, I felt like I was talking to a brick wall, not sure if she was registering anything. Between trying not to go mad from being a constant audience-less one man show as well as battling the fatigue from all the sleepless nights I found myself asking when being a mother stops being such a thankless gig. When would I feel “that” love?
One afternoon I panicked as I had not heard a peep out of my daughter for over 5 minutes. Silence usually means something has broken or there was a mess I had to clean or my daughter was hurt. Rushing from room to room, I found her facing the open glass doors seated on her chair, wearing my cardigan and softly singing “dodo l’enfant dort” as she cradled her doll.
In that moment, I knew that she did take notice of those countless days and nights where I would be seated in front of a window cradling her. She was paying attention to the song I always sang to her. Most of all I realised she was able to feel past all my fatigue and despair and find the love I had for her. As she turned around to face me, encapsulating all the calmness that I wish I had as a mother, I finally felt it.”
To see Moe’s other work or to make enquiries for studies and portraits for yourself visit www.facebook.com/portraitsbymoe