HANNAH KOZAK: HE THREW THE LAST PUNCH TOO HARD (Signed)
(KOZAK, HANNAH). FotoEvidence, I00210602, 2021. 8 x 11 in., 128 pages. Hardbound. New/No Jacket - As Issued.
When I was nine, my mother abandoned my family to have an affair. Her lover was violent: he beat her so badly she suffered permanent brain damage and had to be moved into an assisted living facility at age forty one.
I have early, fond memories of my mother as a beautiful, passionate, vivacious Guatemalan -esque Sophia Loren. But after she left, I had tremendous feelings of abandonment and rage towards her. I judged her as impetuous, selfish, reckless and negligent. I resented what she did to herself and her family. I carried so much anger, yet whenever I saw her, I was overcome with pity and sadness. Looking at her hand gnarled from brain damage brought forth more emotion than I could bear. For these reasons, I virtually ignored my mother to distance myself from my own pain.
But pain ignored does not disappear. I came to realize our relationship needed healing. Thankfully, through graduate work in Spiritual Psychology and with a healer, I was able to dissolve the judgments I carried about my mother and myself and forge a relationship with her. I began to photograph her in December 2009 until 2019, for this project.
These photos are meant to take me out of my comfort zone while telling my mother's story of isolation, loneliness, abuse, connection, compassion, forgiveness, family, humanity, grace, joy, and love. I didn’t need to travel the world to deepen my spirituality. My greatest teacher was in front of me my entire life. I just couldn’t see it was my mother, a true Bodhisattva. She forgave me for not visiting her all those decades without uttering a word. I forgave her for leaving our family. Forgiveness happens when you care more about the love in a relationship than the logic of your ego. I no longer pity my mother. She continually inspires me to live by my heart, not my head. The love I feel for her has broken my heart wide open. 9781732471153 Inventory Number: I00210602