Mother in the Mother (2012 – 2015)

“A woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have, the egg that formed you was once an egg inside your mother when she was just a foetus inside your grandmother”

This was a giant, three-year project. Begun (possibly not sensibly!) the year my second daughter was born. The project had deep roots, growing out of earlier research into family life, and the role of the matriarch, within the community of Knowle West. It was also rooted in my personal family history and in a longstanding fasciation with maternal lineage that had crystalised moments after giving birth to my first daughter.

The project began on Mother’s Day 2012 with four mothers around a kitchen table eating traditional simnel cake and enjoying a refreshingly frank discussion of motherhood. It developed into a three year, participatory arts project exploring the theme of maternal lineage, and culminated with a public exhibition opened on Mother’s Day 2015 attended by over 70 women and children, with local and national press coverage:

Woman’s hour.

BBC News Online

Bristol 24/7

Within its three year lifespan the project worked with over 200 mothers, gathering their stories at events and workshops, and turning these into written pieces, photography, digital stories and handmade books. Discussions at workshops covered some of the more challenging aspects of motherhood including post-natal depression, miscarriage, estrangement and non-attachment, and I took these themes as inspiration for a series of figurative sculptures.

 “The group allowed us the space to voice things that had previously been unspoken. It was powerful stuff!”

“It gave me the sense that my journey is not alone but is unique. An inspiration to actively connect and share more with other women.”

“This was valuable, emotional, well structured, inspiring, interesting, an empowering one off.” 

 

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