I made this painting after a visit to my place of birth, Brussels. As I was walking through the central portion of the city I looked in the store windows that displayed lovely dolls for sale. I went into a shop and examined the dolls closely. An idea for a painting came to me as I was caressing the soft hair and beautiful garments that the dolls were wearing!
I was quite preoccupied with the thought that there are vast differences between how individuals interpret the feelings and thoughts of others.
In this painting a mother and a daughter are featured, but they are dolls. The blond doll is the mother looking down, she hides her thoughts and does not want anyone to see them. She keeps her mouth closed, what she thinks is a secret. There is something else that she is doing which is also very strange. She pinches her arm with her right hand. With that, the mother indicates that she feels pain because, if she speaks, others will not understand. They will even refuse to acknowledge hearing her voice, forget that they will try to understand her words.
The brown haired doll points to her chest. She shows that she wants everything to be about her. She has to be understood at all times. She cannot stop herself from saying and doing what she wants. She looks straight at the viewer and says, “Look at me, I’m the one that you need to take care of!”. Her mouth is open. She always has something to say. The brown haired doll will stay that way forever. It is not possible to make her happy. She struggles and searches for something (peace?) but she cannot understand that what she needs is already right there.
My mother, who is a tapestry weaver, really liked this painting. She made a beautiful tapestry based on it that is just the same size as the original. It is included here.