If I Die Before I Wake is modeled after a traditional porcelain prayer nightlight. The only difference is that one hand is mine and the other is my mother’s. The two hands have uncanny similarities and yet one has been transformed by age. To place the two hands together is to contemplate my aging and inevitable death. The title is taken from a prayer that I said with my mother throughout my childhood. To sleep with the soft light of a nightlight is to pacify our fear of the dark. I said this prayer for most of my life and I can remember the moment when I actually listened to the words and I thought that’s an incredibly morbid prayer to say to your child as your falling asleep and now I have a daughter of my own and I spend many hours helping her transition from the wake state to the sleep state so I’ve had a lot of time to contemplate our fear of surrendering into sleep and what that has to do with our fear of death.
– Janine Antoni
© janine antoni