The M Word – Motherhood And Maternal Mental Health Explored

The M Word exhibition is curated by local Artist and mother of three, Amy Dignam is a visual and material representation of concepts that revolve around the maternal experience, motherhood and maternal mental health.

Although her 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.

Rachel Fallon – Apron no 1. To Ensure Hope is our Role; Digital print on Hahnemühle paper,2018.

Rachel Fallon – Apron no 1. To Ensure Hope is our Role; 2018 – The M Word

With motherhood, ‘Love is, of course, an easier effect to acknowledge that 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.

Leanne Pearce Cat and Archer 2016 – The M Word

Exhibiting artists
Paula Chambers, Leni Dothan, Tracey Kershaw, Sophia Marinkov Jones, Leanne Pearce, Megan, Wynne, Dawn Yow, Katy Howe and the Founding Mothers group of the Maternal Journal.

The M wall artists are – Helen Sargeant, Rachel Fallon, Caroline Kelley, Lauren Mclaughlin,

During the exhibition, we 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.

This collection will aim to tour across the country in a variety of exhibition venues, conferences and seminars, to raise awareness of and opening up a conversation around the subjects and issues depicted within the works. It will form the basis for
a growing collection and going forward, artists will be able to apply to submit works into this collection.

Desperate Artwives presents: The M WORD 1st May – 12th May 2019 Private View: Thursday 2nd May, 6 – 8 pm 1 Paved Court, Richmond TW9 1LZ

Top Photo: From the left, Leni Dothan, Double wooden structure 2015, Sophia Marinkov Jones monoprint 2016, Megan Wynne, Motivation, video still 2016

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