Programme ➔ Main Programme ➔ Thomas Street Programme (2003-)
2007 Apr 13 (is beginning date)
2007 Jun 17 (has end date)
Exhibition of work by three female lens based artists looking at their personal relationship with their mothers or as mothers themselves.
The show featured three photographic works by Chinese performance artist He Chengyao. The works examined her relationship with her mother who had suffered from mental illness since the artist's father died in the 1960s.
Testimony (2002) featured three prints which allowed the artist to face her family’s history of insanity. It was the first image the artist had taken with her mother, who had often been hidden by the family due to her mental illness.
99 Needles (2002) was an image of a performance by the artist where her body was pieced by 99 acupuncture needles. The performance embodied the suffering the artist had seen as a child when her mother was forced to take various cures for her mental illness, including acupuncture. The work was also an atonement by the artist because she witnessed everything that happened to her mother but could not do anything to stop it.
Magnolia (2004), was a photograph of an Magnolia in the Summer Palace in Beijing. In China the flower represented a person of high moral standard. The artist also felt the image reflected harmony even with the contrasting colours.
Hands by British artist Amy Cham was a portrait of the artist and her brother being taught to cook their favourite foods by their mother. Growing up the artist had a difficult relationship with her mother and was scared of her mother's hands which would often beat her. In contrast, Cham's few fond childhood memories were associated with the same hands cooking her favourite foods. Having her mother teach them to cook for the first time, the artist and her brother were symbolically resolving painful memories and created a new positive one.
The show also featured two works by photographer Annie Hsiao-Ching Wang which examined her experiences of Motherhood and her relationship with her son.
My son and I at the same height comprised 11 self portraits taken by the artist with her son between 2002-2007. The images were taken during key points as her son grew up, with the boy placed so he appears to be the same height as his mother. The work reflected the artist's happiness at her son's growing and their interdependence without the pressure of gender-different expectations.
The Mother as a Creator featured 6 images taken between 2001-2006. Using an image of the artist when she was pregnant with her son as a starting point, Wang took a photograph with her son every year stood in front of the photograph from the previous year. Gradually different layers of the artist and her son emerge on the same surface and different stages in her son's life were overlaid. The artwork recorded how her relationship with her son changed each year and undermined "the inflexible and stereotypical conventions of motherhood that in their idealisations seek to allow only a single plane of experience".