David Bodlak


                                                                     El agua hablará, altar in honor of David Bodlak

"El agua hablará" is an exploration of the idea that death is a process and not a single moment in time. During the last weeks of my father's life he began to share his memories with us. He did so in chronological order, subconsciously starting with his most recent memories and working backwards in time. Once he told us about his childhood, he became silent and finally passed away. 

My father was an artist and, as I do, he loved finding and highlighting images in wet-on-wet paint backgrounds. I used the same technique, but with watery finger-paint for children and basic charcoal to illustrate the different anecdotes that came to his mind as he faded. The water marks guided me, and I found hidden images in each panel. There are 16 panels, each accompanied by a Haiku poem. Haikus were important to my father. He used this poetic form of expression to ritualistically record and celebrate profound thoughts and events.

Shortly before my father passed away, my mother asked him how he would communicate with her, if he could. He said: "Through water." Since then, every raindrop, leak, river, the ocean, every tear reminds us he is with us.

"El agua hablará" was included in the 2011 Día de los Muertos exhibition titled Death in Parallel at Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco.

© 2017 by MARA LEA BROWN