How to Mend: Motherhood and Its Ghosts

Iman Mersal
Edited by Maha Maamoun, Ala Younis

Design by Julie Peeters


In How to Mend: On Motherhood and its Ghosts, Kayfa ta’s 4th monograph, Iman Mersal navigates a long and winding road, from the only surviving picture of the author has with her mother, to a deep search through what memory, photography, dreams and writing, a search of what is lost between the mainstream and more personal representations of motherhood and its struggles. How to mend the gap between the representation and the real, the photograph and its subject, the self and the other, the mother and her child.

Essay / Literature, Popular Culture
If I’d been more aware and someone had asked me about “my mother’s picture” I would have shown them the bird she’d stitched onto the canvas herself. It is not aesthetic vision or skill that summons my mother’s presence in this canvas, but the slight punctum the bird gives me. I get nothing of this sort from our studio portrait. The bird’s eyes are always looking at me, as though they belong to her. The bird: motionless, for whose sake my mother sat and stitched by the window where the light came in, each pinprick a symbolic laceration in the process of its embodiment: cuts by the hundred to make it whole. –Iman Mersa

Iman Mersal is an Egyptian poet and associate professor of Arabic Literature and Middle Eastern Studies in the University of Alberta, Canada

168 pages
Paperback, 9.6x14.8 cm
Arabish, English
Kayfa ta, 1st edition 2018
ISBN 9783956794254