‘Not Madonna’ is an exhibition of visual art on the subject of motherhood. The artists participating will include nationally and internationally recognised artists who are mothers, some have not publicly dealt with maternity in their work so far.
The exhibition will present the maternal as subject and the work may touch on issues of maternal ambivalence, not ‘good enough’ mothering, competitive mothering, post feminist motherhood, (artist) career vs. mothering, post natal depression, birth trauma, maternal desires anxieties and fears.
Motherhood in art is treated duplicitously. The maternal is often the object of art, as in the extensive canon of religious depictions of the Virgin Mary. This informs and shapes the myths of motherhood which frame everyday experience. In contrast the maternal is seldom a valid subject for art and becoming a mother is perceived to undermine serious and committed art practice, undermining and silencing the maternal voice.
‘Not Madonna’ is set to pick up where second wave feminism floundered, essentialist though it is, the art work is out there and along with a feminist resurgence it is time to acknowledge the validity and importance of the maternal subject in art.