In her photo series simply titled, “Mum“, award-winning photographer Nancy Newberry has captured the revered Texas tradition of “Homecoming Mums”, the decoration of silk chrysanthemum flowers with ribbons, trinkets and charms to create heavily decorated corsages for high school homecoming activities.
Artificial, shiny and virtually unknown outside of Texas, the Homecoming Mum is an elaborate corsage exchanged between friends and lovers. They are ritually worn and subsequently immortalized, tacked to bedroom walls as trophies. At a time when many American high schoolers seem purposefully disengaged from the world around them, the Mum constitutes both a unique act of cultural immersion and a specific brand of folk art.
“Mum” is currently being shown at the Schneider Gallery in Chicago through December 31, 2013.
photos by Nancy Newberry