ROCIO DE ALBA // Faces of Love

Faces of Love

In my early twenties my pious “old fashion" Hispanic parents divorced. Years later they confessed their most devoted accomplishment was: “sparing us (as children) the unpleasantries associated with step-parents.” Yet almost immediately my mother began a successful relationship with a man nine years her junior, whom shared custody of two sons with his ex- wife, while my father courted many women simultaneously. Baffled, I witnessed my strict marital ethics unravel through the adults that enforced them and seamlessly integrated into what is commonly referred as a “modern family.” Using heaps of props, make-up, minimal post-production to alter my bone structure, eyes and skin color, I produce these satirical and humorous self-portraits to explore the “modern family” concept, focusing on the gamut of the contemporary mother archetype.

The twenty-first century’s diversity in family structures can be traced to statistics that disclose fifty percent of marriages end in divorce; all US states have legalized same sex marriage; two million adopted children live in the United States alone; while interracial unions remain legal since 1967. These numbers corroborate the evolution of the mother prototype, from that of the 1950s for instance, exemplified by fictitious characters like June Cleaver. Today mothers derive from biological roots, adoptions, same sex unions, foster custodians or all the above. And due to new age media, feminist movements, and plastic surgery these women may look younger, live longer and remarry multiple times, as in my case. Currently, I hold custody of my three children. The two eldest are from a broken engagement and share the third child with my current husband, whom has full custody of a son from a previous relationship. As the evolution to a reformist family dynamic occurred, it seemed to revolutionize societal doctrines that enforced what mothers should look like and instead beckoned she reinvent herself unconventionally and without conceding to social biases.