“By writing herself, woman will return to the body which has been more than confiscated from her, which has been turned into the uncanny stranger on display” (Cixous, 1975). Through a depth of research into feminist perspectives on motherhood, I have created an art installation titled, "Mama". From my research, I have found many artists who make work about their experiences in raising children, women’s work and labor, and the trauma of giving birth. Louis Bourgeois, Natalie Loveless, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Mary Kelly, and Jenny Saville are a handful of artists whose work on motherhood has greatly inspired me to question my own relationship between the free-spiritedness of being an artist, and the pressure to conform to the gendered expectation to pursue motherhood. Julia Kristeva stated that, motherhood is the sole function of the “other sex” to which women may confidently attribute their existence to (1985). The idea that my sole function as a woman is to rear children is incredibly stifling, and I have felt immense pressure throughout my life to be a mother, from people admiring how well I deal with children to being told I have “child-bearing hips” at the ripe age of 10. How I contend with the opposing goals to be both a mother and an artist are felt in this piece through the tension of dual forces, created by the difference between two birthing chairs and two video projections. Through my research, personal narrative, and creative practice, I look to address domestic stereotypes placed on women, and in particular women artists. As a continuation of my exploration of craft, I have used the methods of woodworking and video to address ideas of domestic labor and child-rearing. In this installation, I have shown an acknowledgment of patriarchal structures and how they affect women’s existence, while also claiming ownership over my own fate in a subversive manner. Taking inspiration from absurdism, surrealism, arte povera, and “Womanhouse”, "Mama" confronts the harsh realities of motherhood and gender roles.
Scott, Hannah, "Mama" (2022). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 516.