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 not only did I have to love being a mother but give lip service to its joys, in spite of its contradictions, ambivalence and lowly economic status.
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 this contradiction, and other stereotypical representations of motherhood but explore the ‘lived reality’ of motherhood, and ways to escape from confinement, stigmatisation, categorisation and Otherness.
Society categorises and represents mothers as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Caught between binaries, they are denied individuality and subjecthood. Mothers are bearers, loaded with the responsibilities of the institution of motherhood, yet denied individualised representation. My performance practice explores possible strategies for representation through visual metaphor, time-based video practices, street action, parody, language and ritual.
The body is performed and used in an iconic way. It is maternal, fecund, tender yet ultimately angry. It is possible through evocative encounters to create rupture and the cultural transformation of the burden of parenting.
mother works 1 intro: Introduction to writing project & book ‘Mother works: Delpha Hudson 1998-present’ (to be published 2018)