Louise Bourgeois, Yoko Ono, Kara Walker… they are all mothers, but how come we never talk about motherhood in the art world?! It often feels like giving birth and caring for children is something that has to be hidden or not talked about. And despite this, many women – and those who identify as women – do decide to have children at some point. In many aspects of our lives, motherhood is brushed under the carpet and, unfortunately, the art world is no exception. But, we want to change that! Here’s a list of arts initiatives dedicated to supporting mamas in the art world.
Art Mamas Alliance
The Art Mamas Alliance is a supportive community that creates space and resources for parents in the arts. Born out of a need to connect and a conviction that parenthood should not be hidden, Art Mamas Alliance believes there is strength in visibility. An online platform, they operate as a safe space for honest conversations.
Operating since 2011, Desperate Artwives supports and promotes the work of women* artists who are also mothers. Founded by artist and mother Amy Dignam, Desperate Artwives is a strong collective of female artists most of whom are mothers, who wanted to bring together reactive and proactive art to challenge stereotypes, call up social issues and create a visible international platform from which to do this. The collective produces group shows, events, workshops and other happenings, and there is also a podcast called Woman Up!
Procreate supports the development of contemporary artists who are also mothers, working across various disciplines. Based in the UK, Procreate designs radical models and platforms that suit women’s experience, pushing for systemic change while facilitating the happening of a solid artistic development and increased visibility. Their ultimate aim is to unpack and shed light on stereotypes and assumptions that women cannot pursue their creative goals when raising children. In 2017 they launched the Mother Art Prize, the only international prize for self-identifying women and non-binary visual artists with caring responsibilities. Its 3rd edition is currently on show at Cromwell Place in London until October 30.
Mothers In Arts
Mothers In Arts was founded by Csilla Klenyánszki to support women artists who are also mothers, with the aim of shining a light on the mother-shaped blindspot within the art world. Mothers in Arts also has a residency model, which works to stimulate young women artists with children. Combatting the feeling of isolation that can be felt by many mothers, Mothers in Arts believes being a mother is not a stigma and that motherhood can accompany a successful artistic practice.
Cultural ReProducers is an evolving group of active cultural workers who are also parents. Founded by Christa Donner in 2012, the platform is a web resource and community-based project aimed at anyone interested in making the art world a more inclusive and interesting place by supporting arts professionals raising kids.
A platform for mothers in art in the south Caucasus, Juggling Dinosaurs addresses the lack of space for mothers in the arts space, and advocates for better representation. Founded by Anna Kamay, the initiative examines the extent to which art and cultural institutions can meet the needs of mothers in arts, so that they are well-positioned to retain female talent and enjoy the advantages of a diverse leadership team.
Text Lizzy Vartanian