1st Edition

The Maternal in Creative Work Intergenerational Discussions on Motherhood and Art

Edited By Elena Marchevska, Valerie Walkerdine Copyright 2020
    258 Pages 14 Color & 40 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    258 Pages 14 Color & 40 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    246 Pages 14 Color & 40 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Maternal in Creative Work examines the interrelation between art, creativity and maternal experience, inviting international artists, theorists and cultural workers to discuss their approaches to the central feminist question of the relation between maternity, generation and creativity.

    This edited collection explores various modes and forms of art practice which look at mothers as subjects and as artists of the maternal experience, and how the creative practice is used to accept, negotiate, resist or challenge traditional conceptions of mothering. The book brings together some of the major projects of maternal art from the last two decades and opens up new ways of conceptualizing motherhood as a creative and communicative practice. Chapters include intergenerational discussion of art practices in the 20th and 21st centuries, representations of breastfeeding and infertility in creative projects, the notion of the ‘unfit mother’ and childlessness, together with the experiences of women and men that take on maternal identities through many forms of kinship and social mothering.

    The Maternal in Creative Work will be essential reading for interdisciplinary students and scholars in cultural studies, gender studies and art theory and will have wider appeal to audiences interested in maternity, childcare, creativity and psychoanalysis.



    List of figures and plates

    List of contributors

    Forward by Lisa Baraitser

    Preamble by Valerie Walkerdine

    Chapter 1: Maternal art practice: emerging field of artistic enquiry into motherhood, care and time, Elena Marchevska

    Part I: Intergenerational maternal discussions

    Chapter 2: Feminist intergenerational inheritance: a conversation, Natalie Loveless and Mary Kelly

    Chapter 3: Maternal Metaphors I and II: a labour of motherlove, Myrel Chernick and Jennie Klein

    Chapter 4: A cord that is never done away with: an aesthetic ontology of the pre-birth scene with Francesca Woodman and Bracha L. Ettinger, Tina Kinsella

    Chapter 5: Prisms of mourning: gender, justice and hope: Carrie Mae Weems’ Colored People, 1989-1990, Andrea Liss

    Chapter 6: The Mothernists, Deirdre M. Donoghue and Lise Haller Baggesen

    Chapter 7: A.M.M.A.A. – The Archive for Mapping Mother Artists in Asia, Ruchika Wason Singh

    Part II: Encountering the maternal in artistic practice 

    Chapter 8: Blueprint for a ghost, Eleanor Bowen and Laura González

    Chapter 9: Maternal time travel: epistolary praxis as intergenerational care work, Rachel Epp Buller

    Chapter 10: A mother’s work: a mother/daughter, seamstress/fibre artist’s merging practice and politics, Aram Han Sifuentes about Younghye Han 

    Chapter 11: The mother artist in the age of performance reproduction, Elizabeth Philps

    Chapter 12: Returning to ourselves: Medea/Mothers’ Clothes and Patience one decade on, Lena Šimic and Emily Underwood-Lee

    Chapter 13: Unravelling family fictions: Stories We Tell, Daughter Rite and My Life Without Me, Lizzie Thynne

    Part III: Maternal future: Interrupting the field

    Chapter 14: One for Sorrow: the collaborative work of mother and not-yet-mother, Alison O’Neill and Jo Paul

    Chapter 15: Identity through injury: contemporary adoption and the unfit working class mother, Sally Sales

    Chapter 16: The motherhood imperative: fertility, feminism, art, Miriam Schaer

    Chapter 17: Drawing as a creative exploration of ‘circumstantial childlessness’, Lois Tonkin

    Chapter 18: Becoming ordinary: making homosexuality more palatable on TV , Lulu Le Vay

    Afterwords: mothering the future, Irina Aristarkhova


    Elena Marchevska, PhD, is a practitioner, academic and researcher interested in new historical discontinuities that have emerged in post-capitalist and post-socialist transition. She is researching and writing extensively on the issues of belonging, displacement, the maternal and intergenerational trauma. Her artistic work explores the relationship between the maternal, borders and stories that emerge from living in transition. She is an Associate Professor in Performance Studies at London South Bank University.

    Valerie Walkerdine, PhD, is an artist, academic and researcher bringing artistic and cultural practice together with cultural and social theory and research. Her work on the maternal focuses on issues of inter-generational transmission, expressing that work through installation, performance and practice-based work with de-industrialised communities. Her research and writing reflect these concerns and also focus on psychosocial aspects of intergenerational transmission in relation to class and gender. She is editor of the journal Subjectivity (Palgrave). She is Distinguished Research Professor in the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Wales.