The show has been curated by Amy Dignam, artist and mother of three.
Although the selection of artists comes from far and wide, the narrative doesn’t change. All the works actively challenge society’s attitudes toward maternal subjectivity. All the works position the mother in the foreground and clearly state that they shouldn’t be afraid of being seen or being judged. They impart a strong sense of the horror, humour, love and hate, and express those ambivalent feelings that are often experienced but not really acknowledged or accepted, during motherhood.
With motherhood, ‘Love is, of course, an easier affect to acknowledge than hate: it is taken for granted in a Mother. Love’s absence is acknowledged to be a disaster. Hate, however, is frequently denied.’ Torn in Two – The Experience of Maternal Ambivalence, Rozsika Parker, 1995.
Sometimes mothers don’t feel comfortable to express these negative emotions for fear of being judged as cold, uncaring, not the perfect mother. The artists in this exhibition mark the emotional turmoil through their personal journeys and their experience of motherhood.
The maternal body is also very present throughout the exhibition taking a critical approach via contemporary meanings, against persisting taboos, showing its mutable characteristics and claiming its indisputable involvement in the politics of its representation. The artists share with us their own pain, isolation, fear and love, but first and foremost they share their resistance.
During the exhibition, Desperate Artwives will also be launching The M Wall.
The M Wall is a new DAW initiative that will bring together a collection of works dedicated to the subject of perinatal mental health and its interconnection with Art. The works included in the collection will not only be a visual depiction of the artists’ struggles, ways of coping and coming to terms with their personal maternal experiences, they will also raise the question of how art can support, reinforce and promote good mental health.
The M Wall artists: Helen Sargeant, Rachel Fallon, Caroline Kelley, Lauren Mclaughlin, Laura Fooks, Katy Howe, Amy Dignam, Public Takeover, Debbie Lee, Tracey Kershaw.