The term is a polite way of saying someone’s parents were not married. It is also a legal term in court documents to describe a lack of official lineage.
The term is being used in both a broader and deeper sense. As a first-generation citizen and daughter of a refugee, my family history is one of displacement, of war and of a termination of official lineage.
Over a dozen vintage and antique men’s straw fedoras were collected and deconstructed before being hand sewn onto canvas. The fedoras stand in for the patrilineal history. Some of the straw work ribbons are bleached, painted, inked, layered in graphite, marker and dyed.
The light-colored band near the top of the work is a background of fine antique silk from a woman’s blouse. Over that is ostrich shell, earth and dung. There are pieces of beige, bone-like coral. These are the matrilineal referents.
Large chunks of coral hang from the work. They have a bodily feel like arteries, the truncated roots of family.