The subject of the exhibition is a feminist perspective on motherhood that aims to examine it through personal and public issues, to understand the situation of a woman who has accepted the responsibility to give birth and nurture. Motherhood is still considered as something “natural” or a kind of “function” that a woman is obliged to fulfill. This “standard” requires that women perform many complex tasks simultaneously, but all their burdens are never rated the same way as in the professional sphere. On the contrary, a woman is entirely excluded into the private sphere, where she is often forced to cope with her problems alone. After becoming a mother, she often has to put aside her professional activity, career or creative work to take care of her child. Her domesticity automatically makes her fulfill other duties at home, so she becomes involved in another unpaid job. Sometimes mothers also have to work to earn money, thus tripling their workload. The issues related to corporality of motherhood and women’s reproduction generally remain within the expertise of medical professionals and is often a taboo topic in public debates. In particular, changes that affect a woman’s body are not perceived as a sign of great physical labour for the formation of new people, but interpreted only as a loss of female attractiveness. The artists depict in their works each individual motherhood as a large-scale project of social significance that is fulfilled with extraordinary efforts. The female artists conceptualize motherhood as a potential opportunity for every woman, assess the question of choice whether or not to become a mother, and immerse us in different aspects of first-hand maternal experience. We can see that motherhood is the subject of artistic exploration and inspiration, despite forcing women to put their work aside. Giving a feminist analysis of the role and status of mothers in different societies, the exhibition does not disregard fatherhood. It represents motherhood as a hard corporal and mental labour that makes the existence of all of us possible. The dialogue with mothers is a dialogue with the history of one’s own life, which deserves to be a public issue.

Curator: Oksana Briukhovetska

Artists: Oksana Briukhovetska, Anna Fabricius, Tatiana Fiodorova, Marta Frej, Ksenia Gnylytska, Masha Godovannaya, Elzbieta Jablonska, Alina Jakubenko, Alevtina Kakhidze, Alina Kleitman, Liuba Malikova, Joanna Rajkowska, Emma Thorsander, Marina Vinnik, Anna Witt.

Kyiv, Visual Culture Research Center March 6-19, 2015, Lviv Palace of Arts July 3-19, 2015