Kia Labeija, “ELEVEN” (October 19, 2015)

Kia Labeija premieres a new artwork on the 11th anniversary of her mother’s passing. Below, Kia pays tribute to her mother with a statement about the work.

For my Mother:

|| E L E V E N ||


In the womb we share everything with our mothers.

This is by definition our first home.

We are connected by blood, flowing and pumping oxygen into our small developing bodies, and before we even have a conscious, we have love.

When she died, I cried just as hard as the day I met her.

I became homeless.

Not because I had nowhere to live, but because the body that had once been my first home had stopped breathing.

When I arrived at the hospital that night, she laid there so quietly. I grabbed her in an attempt to hold her in my arms, but her body was too heavy, her face was too purple, and she had already left.

So I didn’t get to say goodbye.

Routine doctors appointments felt void in her absence.

My doctor of over 20 years still recalls the first moment we met. In those days HIV was still considered a death sentence. And my four year old self couldn’t have seemed any farther from it.

So every time he takes my blood I think of her, because we share it. Because she has sat here on this same table. And because I am the last piece of her left in this world.

Today I celebrate your life. And I thank you for giving me one filled with purpose.

Your daughter.