Everyday Madonna looks at motherhood from a variety of perspectives and societal expectations. The artists question cultural and popular images of mothers, such as the iconic Madonna & Child.
Beyond the societal and cultural expectations of mothers and what is deemed ideal, we find an expanded definition of mothers: real, imperfect, resilient, leaders of resistance and fierce protectors.
Everyday Madonna features works by these artists: Eddie Abd, Linda Brescia, Louisa Chircop, Karla Dickens, Mona Ibrahim, Nicole Monks, Susan O’Doherty, Pamela Rodoreda, Marikit Santiago, Rokeya Sultana.
Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre
Curated by Jenny Cheeseman
Descriptions of Images
What are you Staring At – mixed media drawing: primed canvas, woollen blanket, bath towel, felt, lead pencil, oil stick, felt tipped pen, nail polish and acrylic paint 152 x 213cm 2019
This is a family portrait, a collage of blankets, bath towel and clothing on primed canvas to convey home décor and kitchen setting in the daily grind that I found myself in as a mother, becoming the primary carer while my husband was away with work for weeks at a time. I found myself in the cycle of breakfast, school lunches, feeding the cat, dinner, shopping, school drop offs and pickups, sport, music lessons, parent and teacher nights and the incessant running around. Then, exhausted at the end of the day and still with a load of washing to do and thinking about tomorrow’s lunches. The endless stream of unpaid domestic work crept up over time and set us up in the stereotypical gender roles of breadwinner and housewife.
We’re not all the Same – acrylic on canvas – 167 x 152cm 2019
This painting signifies three stages of my life, from small child, to teenager, to adult. As a little girl I had expectations of a fairytale life, getting married and having children. TV, movies, literature, social media and advertising reinforced these ideals. These dresses are a cut- out version of myself as if lifted out of a children’s book and placed on paper bodies waiting for the flesh and blood and personality to inhabit them. I have different personas for different situations and play many roles. Looking at photographs of myself as a young mother it’s like I’m looking at someone else from a distance. I don’t really recognise myself.
My Reflection – mixed media sculpture (plinth): plaster hand, buttons, nail polish, iron, textiles, paint and wood 55 x 40 x 22cm 2018
When the kids were small I spent years washing, hanging, ironing and folding clothes. This went against my better inclinations as I’d never really cared about perfect presentation before. School years changed all that and I felt guilty, like an uncaring mother if my boys’ uniforms were not up to scratch.
Material World – mixed media: handbag, high heel shoe, hair curlers, watch, jewellery, pebbles, animal skull, paint and wood. 60 x 60 x 15cm 2017
As a female our handbags are vessels carrying the accoutrements of our intimate worlds; a collection of our personal effects, a mirror to a woman’s domain. We take them everywhere we go. These works are time capsules, spilling out a chronicle of life experiences – marriages, motherhood, careers, highlights and disappointments from birth to death; the cycle of life and passing of time.
Hung Out to Dry – mixed media: wooden coat hanger, milk bottles, bra, paint, wood and varnish 54 x 54 x 10cm
My consciousness and focus was redirected from my needs to the needs of my newborn babies after childbirth. Not only was there a mental shift but the physical changes were enormous. Nature hijacked my body and I become a feeding machine.