Sandra Mayo


Patterns and textures found in nature, but also those designed by humans have always attracted me. More recently, I started to look at families as series of interrelated objects; persons connected following distinct patterns and building a common story.

Family is a topic to which everyone is inescapably and profoundly attached. We are all formed and influenced by the experiences of family relationships, their absence or presence, their quality and context. We all belong to a family and thus we are part of a structure bigger than ourselves. But what is our individual role in that structure? How do we belong to the family, to the pattern, and still express our own individuality and contribution to the structure? What stories do we pass along to our kin, or hide from them, consciously or not, in order to preserve the structure? What features and patterns of the family structure we embrace and which ones we reject? And then how our actions affect the family structure, and modify its stories? How would those stories be told, or not?

These questions brought me to the concept of the genogram as an emotional family map. Genograms are pictorial family trees commonly used in medicine, psychiatry, psychology, social work, genetic research and education, which include symbols of hereditary patterns and events like births, deaths, immigration, marriage, divorce, sickness, conflicts, emotionality, dialogue and communication that embody relationships. Genograms are thus fingerprints of the emotional structure and history of a family. Each family genogram has its own unique pattern built upon the deepest and most basic human relationships. Through printmaking, encaustic and mixed media, I am exploring how do we search for our own self and balance within the rich context of our family genogram.