Self Portrait #1 comments on the artist’s matrilineal heritage and the different factors, both genetic and environmental, that have contributed to the understanding of her personal traits and physical attributes. In particular, the artwork examines the complex, interconnected relationship between nature and nurture with links to epigenetics – an emerging field that examines inheritable changes in genetic expression .
The portrait includes three mummified/preserved hearts representative of the artist’s mother and grandmothers. The use of the hearts connects to notions of sacrifice, preservation and renewal. Symbols of life, death and transformation such as scarab beetles and butterflies have also been included. Elements such as grass and domestic furniture/objects reflect on the interplay between nature and nurture, especially the role of environmental factors in gene expression.
 Holliday, R. (2006). Epigenetics: a historical overview. Epigenetics, 1(2), 76-80.