I don’t normally think of myself as angry, yet casting my mind back over my practice, there is a thread running through. It is red thread, a red thread of anger. Anger that I was as a designated female supposed to not only love being a mother, but give lip service to its joys in spite of its contradictions, pain and anguish. Studies in mothering have announced such seemingly obvious statements as ‘mother-love….is as important for mental health as are vitamins and proteins for physical health’ (Rutter, 1972). It has been convenient to believe that the needs of mother and child are complimentary, that the mother gets what she needs mutually from the child. This is the myth of a satisfying symbiosis of the mother-child dyad.
I wanted to not only to explore contradiction, but theoretically posit concepts of escape from confinement, stigmatisation, categorisation and otherness. Society categorises mothers; ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘useful’, or ‘useless’… tarred with the same stick, denied individuality and subjecthood. They are bearers, loaded with the responsibilities of the institution of motherhood, yet denied representation beyond the stereotypical. Performance practices explore through conscious and unconscious action, writing and visual language, the possibility of freedom. Playing with symbology, language and ritualised action, and, the body is used in an iconic way, it is bound in the imaginary, burdened; it is maternal, fecund, tender but ultimately angry.
Much of my work in different media, re-represents motherhood and trauma. I still want to talk about evocative encounters, jouissance, and transformation, and instil ideas about rupture and a cultural transformation of the burden of parenting.
On-Going writing project: Maternal States : developing aesthetics in maternal art and re-representing contradictions and trauma 1997-2016 maternal-states