The same way handkerchiefs were carried in-hand during goodbyes at ports, I propose a ritualization of a farewell embedded on a handkerchief: a pañuelo. As a way of experiencing closure, I propose the disappearance of an image from the past using water as a means of transport.
This project was created in 2008 and was carried out as participative workshops around Mexico and Lima. These were attended on a voluntary basis and held at different places such as a museum, plazas, communal houses, a cultural centre and a women’s penitentiary.
On a piece of cloth participants write and/or draw with markers whatever they wish to send-off. Once that existence is materialized on the handkerchief, one starts to gradually dampen the cloth. The image will start to dissolve leaving color stains as a vestige of what was lived. The process is repeated as many times as the participant wishes: writing and wetting the cloth consecutively turning the handkerchief in a sort of shroud stained with the presence it held.
However, whether this is a happy, sad, calm or furious goodbye, it is about celebrating the existence of a past by recognising the value of any lived experience. This is the counterpart of the send-off, this is what remains. So, with permanent means such as markers, embroidery or appliqués we celebrate what is carried for the future life.
These handkerchiefs collect the farewell of an undeniable existence, much like those who are living celebrate death–saying goodbye to a presence while celebrating the trace of its existence.