Making the new, normal: re-presenting mothers' subjectivities and their creative potential against persistent patriarchal models

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2022

Authors

Freney, Zoe

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Abstract

This practice-based research project, given urgency by the impacts of COVID-19, seeks to account for the lived experiences of some contemporary mothers in western society, privileging representation as key in structuring ideologies of motherhood and mothers' behaviours. Through studio practices of drawing and painting, as well as digital photographic and textile processes, the project recuperates images of mothers in contemporary western visual culture, challenging their denigration and exploitation. Instead, motherhood and the domestic sphere are depicted as ethical and generative sites of innovation and potential. Taking a matricentric feminist stance and responding to Bracha Ettinger's theories of the matrixial and subjectivity in the feminine, the project employs artistic processes to articulate a mother's changing experience of identity and maternal subjectivity. Drawing on my own experiences of mothering, the 'new' that this project seeks to bring to the fore is the new maternal subject, a mother who is changed through mothering, for whom a new identity is born in relation to those of her dependent others, the spaces, situations, and paraphernalia of her work. The artworks produced recognise the real complexities of mothering and depict its catastrophes, ambiguities, doubts, and pleasures.

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Thesis (PhD)

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DOI

10.25911/DMZD-MF38

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