The Maternal in Creative Work: Intergenerational Discussions on Motherhood and Art, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Maternal in Creative Work

Intergenerational Discussions on Motherhood and Art, 1st Edition

Edited by Elena Marchevska, Valerie Walkerdine


272 pages | 14 Color Illus. | 40 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780815381693
pub: 2019-12-20
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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.



Table of Contents

List of Figures


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 – A Project in search of ‘An Inclusive Feminist Discourse’ in Contemporary Asian Art.

Ruchika Wason Singh


Part II: Encountering the maternal through art

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

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 Šimić 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

Afterword: Mothering the Future

Irina Aristarkhova


About the Editors

Dr Elena Marchevska is a practitioner, academic and researcher writing extensively on the issues of belonging, displacement, the maternal and intergenerational trauma. Her artistic work explores the relationship between the maternal bodies and physical borders. She is an Associate Professor in Performance Studies at London South Bank University.

Prof. Valerie Walkerdine (School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University) is Editor of the Routledge Critical Psychology Series and founding Editor of the International Journal of Critical Psychology. Her books include: Challenging Subjects: Critical Psychology for a New Millennium, Growing Up Girl and Mass Hysteria.

About the Series

Interdisciplinary Research in Motherhood

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies