Two Thousand, Three Hundred and Forty Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
an exercise in empathy with mother
When I was growing up, my mother made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for every day I went to school - that’s 2,430 sandwiches.
2,340 PB&J Sandwiches is a performance piece, during which, I will exercise empathy for my mother, who made me sandwiches from September 1990 - May 2004. I will explore what it was like for for my mother to give her time, energy, and love to make a bag lunch 180 days per year for 13 years.
There is often a repetitive nature to the tasks that a mother performs during the early years of her children’s lives, and a lack of value given to the person doing them. I hope to cultivate a sense of empathy for my mother through the act of making these sandwiches, and to create a tribute to her dedication.
My mother, Elizabeth Olah, is also an artist - a photographer, and the photos she took to commemorate her experience will be on display during the performance. The sandwich ingredients will be sourced from local, natural food distributors, without added sugar or preservatives, so that I can give away wholesome food. At the end of each day, I will donate the sandwiches I have made to The Bowery Mission.
Helping me plan and produce this project are the duo behind HATE creative, a not-for-profit collaboration of artists making gifts for those who promote kindness, creativity, sustainability, and community. In addition to other support, they will be video documenting the process.
I hope that by practicing this empathy for my mother, it will bring a similar appreciation to those who view the work, and perhaps cause them to give thought to what they can thank their mothers for.