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Paula Rego. The Portuguese painter Paula Rego has three children. Victoria, the eldest, was conceived in London, where Paula was studying at the Art School. After several clandestine abortions in London, Paula decided that she would continue with the pregnancy, despite the fact that the father was married to another woman and did not travel with her back to Portugal, where she had all the support of her father and her family when the baby was born. She was 18 years old.
Not long after, Victor Willing was reunited with her and their daughter in Portugal, where they would live in a quinta in Ericeira with Paula's family and where they will share the atelier. Nick and Caroline were born there. Nick recorded the brilliant documentary Historias e Segredos about his mother's life and work. Making a beautiful portrait of the creative process of the portuguese painter and the link between her art, her personal life and her motherhood. “Doing pictures has nothing to do with having children. You do the pictures, you have the children, but they are not part of the same life”
Patti Smith. The artist, poet and singer-songwriter Patti Smith is the mother of three children. Jackson and Jesse Smith and a third, the first, who Patti gave up for adoption when she was a teenager, before moving to New York. “It is impossible to describe the unexpected calm that invaded me. The overwhelming feeling that I had a purpose in life overshadowed my fears. I attributed it to the baby. I imagined that he understood my situation. I felt totally in control of myself. I would do my duty and keep me strong and healthy. I would never look back. I would not return to the factory or to the teaching faculty. I would be an artist. I would prove my worth.” Jesse and Jackson were born years later, and Patti retired from the stage for nearly ten years. In M Train she says that having to take care of her children and her family made her more disciplined in her creative work. She woke up every day two hours before them so she could write for a while before the day started. After Fred's death, and when Jackson turned 14, Patti returned to the musical scene and she used to take Jesse and Jackson with her on tour.
Martha Argerich is one of the best pianists of her time, if not the best. She had three daughters from three different men. The oldest, the violinist Lyda Chen, Martha had to leave her, when she was a baby, in a children's home to continue giving recitals. They weren't together again until many years later. The youngest, Stéphanie Kovacevich , Martha always took her on tour around the world or left her at home with her other sister Annie Dutoit, in the care of other musicians and artists with whom they lived in the same home. “My mother is a supernatural being, she is in contact with something that surpasses the rest of the mortals. In fact I am the daughter of a goddess” Stephanie Kovacevich made a documentary about her mother, a collage of recordings from her entire personal and professional life. The Bloody Daughter, an essential docu for creative mothers.
Alice Munro. Alice Munro gave birth her first daughter when she was 21 years old. "Housewife finds time to write stories" was the title that in 1961 the Canadian newspaper The Vancouver Sun gave an article about her in her 30s. She said that she found time to write while her daughters slept. She had four, one of them died at birth.
The motherhood that appears in Munro's stories often break the patriarchal mold and the false vision of motherhood, although she does not call herself a feminist. "The transformation of mothers into individuals with their own names and interest on themselves, and the complex mother-child relationships, mediated by rivalry, physical decline and death." (Mª Teresa Gibert-Maceda) Her daughter Sheila Munro published in 2008
Lives of Mothers & Daughters: Growing Up with Alice Munro, a book about the life of her mother, written from her personal perspective as the daughter of a woman writer and creator. “So much of what I think I know – and I think I know more about my mother’s life than almost any daughter could know – is refracted through the prism of her writing. Such is the power of her fiction that sometimes it even feels as though I’m living inside an Alice Munro story.”
Annie Hsiao-Ching is a Taiwan-born multidisciplinary artist with a PhD in Arts from the University of Brighton, specializing in issues related to female identity, creativity, and visual culture. Her series The Mother as Creator embodies all aspects of motherhood for female artists and proposes reconciliation between the Artist and the Mother without either losing her identity, connecting upbringing with creativity.
It is an active project in which she has been working since 2000, among others. “Like an artist, the Mother is wise in her creation. The Mother not only creates a life, but also a continuous matrix of experiences between Mother and Child. Motherhood is a long-term process full of a myriad of complex feelings. This complexity cannot be expressed solely by saccharine images of Mother and Child, nor by the image of the Mother Incarnate willingly sacrificing herself for the sake of her children.

 All of these stereotypes of Motherhood are for me a tedious, unavoidable harangue which offers me no consolation. It is from this I derive the original motivation for this series.

ince getting pregnant in 2000, I had been burdened with pregnancy pains and the fear of losing my sense of self, and so I attempted to use art creation to preserve my sense of self during motherhood. From recording how in the beginning the Mother had lost her sense of self, to the notion of constantly creating, I attempted to reconcile my role as both Mother and artist to express a complex, diverse, and creative Motherhood. I am confident that “The Mother as a Creator” series, which took twenty years, not only proves that the Mother can maintain her sense of self, but also that creativity can overturn many of the myths associated with Motherhood.


Starting from the first self-portrait taken in 2001 on the day before I was due to give birth, my son and I would take a new photo together in front of the previous formal family photo every time we had a common life experience.


Thus, the different life stages and appearances of my son and me come together to form a single layer. These Mother and Son photos which at different stages of life are overlaid, and from which we created a dialogue compressed into one peculiar space. From within this dimension emerges a complicated, fragmented and diverse recording of Motherhood.

Through this continuous creation and self-reconstruction using time-tunnel artwork, I not only recorded our perseverance and the accumulation of our experiences, I also make it such that we can clearly observe how we grew and developed over twenty years. Most importantly, it is through living and the passing of time that the representations of the many diverse notions of female self-reconstruction can challenge the one-sided and inflexible stereotypes which have traditionally been held towards Motherhood.”



Monica Sjöö is a painter and writer, feminist, activist and anarchist. In the 70s, at the age of 33, she wrote Towards a Revolutionary Feminist Art, one of the first and most powerful manifestos of the second wave of feminist art in the UK.
Sjöö sought inspiration in past matriarchal times more balanced, in tune with the rhythms of the Earth, the Goddes. Based on these ideas, she wrote the book The Cosmic Mother. An exciting book in which Sjöö shows that the religion of the Goddess, which is linked to the cycles of the women's body, the seasons, the phases of the moon and the fertility of the earth, was the original religion of all.
She was a radical feminist constantly fighting against patriarchy. Among other things, she defended that heterosexuality is something imposed by the system. He had three children, whom she raised in freedom while painting, writing, and traveling. The oldest and the youngest died very young. 'Portrait' is a short video about Monica, her inspiration and her way of life. Scenes from her daily life, recorded in her Clifton apartment where she painted and lived.
In it, he talks about the way in which the birth of her son at home was decisive for her life, her art and her feminism.
Mierle Laderman Ukeles is an American feminist and conceptual artist who was mainly dedicated to performance in the 70s and 80s and later to collaborate on different projects based on changing values and social norms. When Mierle became a mother, she found herself unable to create in the same way as her male-artist colleagues. She was aware of the importance of maintaining a home, raising children and also the responsibility of cleaning public spaces, and how little valued those jobs that mainly women perform are. "I felt like two separate people...the free artists and the mother/maintenance worker.... I was never working so hard in my whole life, trying to keep together the two people I had become. Yet people said to me, when they saw me pushing my baby carriage, "Do you do anything?"...Then I had an epiphany... I have the freedom to name maintenance as art. I can collide freedom into its supposed opposite and call that art. I name necessity art. With her Maintenance Art Manifesto 1969! Proposal for an exhibition "CARE," Mierle challenged the domestic role of women and proclaimed herself a "maintenance artist." She dedicated her artistic practice to demystifying the invisible work that sustains society. Maya Harakawa, quien le pregunta en una entrevista: Maya: How did motherhood affect you as an artist? Ukeles: It was a time of crisis for me. I mean, I wanted that baby. It wasn’t that someone pushed me into having a baby. But all my heroes, the artists I was trying to be like—Jackson Pollock, Marcel Duchamp, Mark Rothko—didn’t have to deal with the maintenance of motherhood. Here I was changing diapers, saying to myself, “Where are you, Jackson? Where are you, Marcel?” I felt like they abandoned me. They had nothing to say to me. They wouldn’t be caught dead doing what I was doing as a mother. I felt like I was falling.
Toni Morrison was an Afro-descendant American writer, committed to fighting racial discrimination. Through her work, always starring black women, she claims for civil rights for the black people and specifically for black women. After divorcing at the age of 33, she found herself alone with a three-year-old son and another baby on the way. She needed a job to support her family, but she desperately needed to write too.
Morrison had previously worked as a teacher, but got a job at a publishing house in New York and, while working there, began to expand her work and a book she had started while teaching at Howard University, about a young black woman who wants to have the blue eyes. After getting a job and moving out, she would wake up at 4am every night to write. She wrote on scraps of paper, on hotel napkins, on whatever she could. She wrote on daily commutes and vice versa. She "she wrote when she could, usually after the children went to sleep." She was the support for her children, she couldn't sacrifice the real world for her art. "I stole time to write. Writing was my other job; I always kept it there, away from my 'real' job as an editor or teacher." It took her five years to finish her first book.
She was 39 when she published "The Bluest Eye" and from then on she did not stop and became a giant, recognized and awarded for her work and her role in the fight for the civil rights of women and the Afro-descendant people.
The amazing French artist and sculptor
Louise Bourgeois created all of her work through the prism of her experiences as a woman and her childhood traumas.
Louise's work is based on bodies, femininity, gender, sexuality, trauma, motherhood, memory ... She was the mother of three children who were barely a year apart, the oldest was adopted.
After the first years of motherhood Louise created the Femme Maison series, which addresses the relationship between woman and home and female identity. Bodies of women with their heads replaced by buildings, giant women walking through houses with their naked bodies. These works have been given various interpretations, from feminists who see in it the abolition of the home as feminine territory or other more open interpretations such as the representation of the struggle of the individual and his inner world with the world that surrounds him. Outside of interpretations, she was never afraid to use hers own concerns and experiences of woman/daughter/mother to create her work, she could not do it otherwise. Her experiences were what inspired her to paint and sculpt. Perhaps that is why her art was recognized belatedly, everything she creates is purely feminine. At age 90, she created a series of watercolors based on motherhood. It may seem curious that this topic inspired her in the last stage of her career, but Louise saw a connection in that moment of her life, old age, with the life of a baby, that need for the mother, that protection within the womb, that warmth and complete peace of a mother's breast and arms. One more lap that Bourgeois's brilliant mind gives.
Ana Álvarez-Errecalde is an Argentine photographer with residence in Barcelona.
Her work is born, as she explains, from her experience with motherhood.
'I focus my artistic work to make known experiences that I believe can help improve life and the relationships we establish. I challenge the way they taught us to give birth. I investigate the rights of babies, childhood and adolescence and I provide a perspective that gives value to the experience of total dependence, because I know it closely. I highlight the viscerality, the untamed, everything that makes us deeply human. I like to bring to consciousness the privileges we hold, and expose the importance (as well as the lack of social value) that care has. ' Ana is the mother of a daughter and two sons, who have often been the inspiration for the photographs that make up some of the artist's series and projects. Her latest work, Duelo, is still in process. A series of photographs and poems in which she filters the pain and mourning for her eldest son. (Last three photographs) Ana has also published this month CARE: Cuidar importa, a series of photographs taken as an investigation to make visible the care relationships around dependency. In the project she collects the testimonies of the people portrayed, as well as that of her own family.
'The objective of the project is to make known the precarious economy of the caregiving sector; ask who cares for caregivers and the effects of caring alone. By giving visibility to different life experiences, it is intended to rethink the value that care has on the historical and social levels. '
Carrie Mae Weems is an American visual artist primarily known for her photographies, but she also works with video installation, text, fabric and audio. Her work is directly linked to the racism suffered by the Afro-descendant people, gender relations, politics, personal identity, femininity. Although she herself says that the black experience is not the main thing in her work, but about how the world filters through herself, as an individual and as a woman who moves in this patriarchal, capitalist and racist system. How he lives the human experience, the concern for social inclusion... In one of his best known series "Kitchen Table Series" (1990) Weems narrates the life of a woman and the battle around the family, monogamy, the relationship between man and woman, women and women, women and their daughters. The series, set in a dimly lit interior, counters public stereotypes by depicting the complex domestic life of women and blacks.
In one of the photographs Weems is observed with a concerned gesture as she applies lipstick, a private ritual that anticipates public exposure, her daughter imitates her. The photography explores the notions of femininity and the daily customs that girls can absorb, consciously or not, from their mothers at an early age. Carrie is the mother of a daughter she had when she was 16, so the girls in the series are not her daughters. Weeds tells how in the process of creating "Kitchen Table Series" she became the protagonist of the photographs because she was the only person who was always available, at any time of the day or night. The other characters in the photographs are relatives and neighbors who were willing to participate. In this series Weems captures in a human and feminine way those scenes that we all recognize. She has lived it as a daughter, as a mother and as an observer at the home of her friends and neighbors. It is what happens inside, between us, between our daughters, between our friends.
Justine Kurland is a photographer, writer and teacher. She is known for her utopian photographs of American landscapes and the fringe communities, both real and imagined, that inhabit them. Most of her photographs and series of her are taken during her road trips across the country, revealing the double-edged nature of the American dream. Kurland presents a reality where utopia and dystopia are not polar opposites, but instead fold into an uncomfortable coexistence. She herself describes her practice as navigating "the spectrum between the perfect and the real."
Her latest works are made after she 'got off the road' and her work focuses more on the intimate and private spaces of her New York apartment. Some of her series "Golden Dawn", "Mama Babies" or "Girl Pictures".
In her series "Of Woman Born" (2005-2006) she takes the name of the text written by feminist Adrienne Rich in 1978, which argues that women should oppose the restrictive maternal roles prescribed by patriarchal society. The images show communes of naked pregnant women and mothers who are far removed from these restrictions, strolling with their children through ethereal beaches, forests and meadows. But perhaps Kurland's project that is most influenced by her own motherhood is Highway Kind, which she worked on for ten years while crossing the United States in her truck. The straight line of the book are photographs of hers her son Casper of hers, whom she took on the road with her as a child as she wandered the American landscape looking for images.
Justine wrote a very intimate article about this trip, "Six years on the road, as an artists and as a mother" that was published in the NewYorker. In it, she talks about the intense process of working on this project and raising her son at the same time, that when she began the journey she was just a baby. She talks about the peculiar life of the two in those years, how at a certain age Casper began to develop and prevented her from working or how he inspired many of her photographs. (I will share excerpts from this article in the next three posts)
Tara Donovan is a contemporary sculptor specially known for her installations in specific places using disposable materials such as adhesive tape, toothpicks, drinking straws and polystyrene cups, creating shapes that resemble biological masses.
“It's not like she's trying to simulate nature. She is more of an imitation of nature's way, the way things really grow. "
Donovan explores the transformative effects of accumulation and aggregation, places great importance on process, and has gained recognition for his ability to exploit the inherent physical characteristics of an object to transform it into works that generate unique perceptual phenomena and atmospheric effects. Tara Donovan has spoken many times about how motherhood increased her creativity. She is the mother of two twins, and she talks about seeing how her children interact with these objects is her biggest source of inspiration. Tara only works strictly until 5pm. She says that she needs to enjoy her children every day to stay inspired. She is represented by the most prestigious artist agencies and has exhibited in the most important galleries and museums.


La artista contemporánea Kara Walker is a painter, silhouette artist, engraver, sculptor and filmmaker. In her work she talks about race, gender, sexuality, violence and identity. Her best known works are the huge black cut out silhouettes. In these works she combines fact and fiction and completes it with her own vision of her as an afrodescendant woman.
They are a powerful metaphor for racial stereotypes. The silhouettes play with the viewer's vision, Walker places them in order to make it difficult to determine which parts of the body belong to which figures, or which are in front and behind. These elements give the works an ambiguity that forces us to question what we know and see, building an enigmatic atmosphere (usually set in the American Civil War or slavery) that hides a meaning oriented to racism in the present and social and economic inequalities. that still persist in the United States. Walker has exhibited in major galleries and museums around the world. She gave birth a girl when she was 28 years old. The artist herself talks about how never gave a thought to the idea of choose between her artistic career and her motherhood. She chose both.
In fact, it was at that same age when she became the youngest person to be awarded the MacArthur scholarship, for which she received many critics (young, mother, black and successful?) She broke the mold while in 2007 she was named one of the most influential artists in the world by Time magazine. “My daughter is now in college and someone there is teaching about my work. What can I say, I wanted a child and a career and I didn't feel one took energy from the other. "


Laurie Simmons is a photographer, actress and filmmaker. Since the mid 70s she has been known for her distinctive visual style and her domestic scenes with dolls and miniature objects. Simmons questions the veracity of photographic realism and stereotypes of American culture. Many of her most iconic works come from her Walking Objects series, an old-fashioned bellows camera is placed upright on the legs of humans, offering a perspective through a surreal image on how women are depicted in popular media.
"I'm not interested in visual magic realism, if I get the chance, I'll always look for an accurate perspective and scale in the hope that someone can believe the scene." Simmons is the mother of two daughters and was one of the artists who came out forcefully against Marina Abramović's words about the serious inconvenience that motherhood represents in the creative career of an artist. “I've spent my life rebelling against these identities that people foisted on me. And then when I understood that the art world includes gatekeepers — guys who didn’t think it was appropriate for women artists to have babies — I thought, ‘Fuck you! Not going to happen.
This idea that there is this very precious thing, artistically speaking, inside a woman that will be broken by having a child is so archaic, primitive, prehistoric. I've never heard a male artist discuss whether or not he should have children."
The lebanese/palestinian /american artist
Rania Matar is an artistic, documentary and portrait photographer.
The main subject of her photographs is the daily lives of girls, adolescents, women and families in the Middle East and the United States. Her portraits explore gender, social and different nationals identities. She started working in an architecture studio. After being a mother (she has four children) she decided to study photography. She wanted to remember the moments that she spent with them. But what she started as a hobby soon became a passion and she Rania she ended up turning her career around to the point that she now cannot conceive of her art without her children.t
“Every time I live an emotional situation with them, an important step, I try to reflect it in my photographs. My children give meaning to my talent ”.
Here are some of her photographs from her series-project Unspoken Conversation. "My work is autobiographical in that it follows my life and my daughters' through the stages of growing up and growing older. This body of photographs explores womanhood at two important stages of life: adolescence and middle age. While I had been photographing teenage girls in A Girl and Her Room, pre-pubescent girls in L'Enfant-Femme, and adult women in Women Coming of Age, I found myself gradually including both mother and daughter in the same photograph. My focus shifted from the singular individual to the collective, combining and cumulative.
I saw myself and my daughter (s) in each and in the sum of all the photographs.
In this work, like in the rest of my artistic practice, I seek to focus on our essence, our physicality, our vulnerability, on growing up and growing old - the commonalities that make us human, to emphasize underlying similarities rather than apparent differences across cultures and to ultimately find beauty in our shared humanity. "
Ruth Asawa was a Japanese-American sculptor, especially known and loved in San Francisco for her service to the community as a 'public artist' and defender of arts in education.
When she was young she enrolled in a degree to be an art teacher in which she was prevented from graduating as due to the war her college area was off-limits to ethnic Japanese, whether or not they were US citizens. Unable to be hired for the teaching practice required to complete her degree, she left without him. Later she, advised by the Cuban artist Clara Porset, she enrolled at Black Mountain College where she studied for three years and where she began to experiment with wire, using different techniques and learning concepts of repetition, shapes, patterns ... After finishing her art studies, she moved with her husband to Noe Valley in San Francisco.
In the following years, her art began to attract attention, although at that time her pieces were classified as women's handicrafts, rather than art.
But Ruth always believed in herself and her work, and focused exclusively on it, her family and her community.
As her work was gaining national and international recognition, her work in the community became more important. She was an ardent advocate for arts education as a transformative and empowering experience, especially for children.
A member of the San Francisco Commission on the Arts, she began lobbying politicians to support arts programs that would benefit young children and the average citizen of San Francisco. Ruth had six children whom she raised while she was building her work.
“It was always just a part of our life to just see her always working,” says his daughter Aiko “And if we really wanted to talk to her, we got one of the dowels, and we'd start coiling wire for her, so that we'd be helping her and having a conversation with her. " The distinction between domestic and non-domestic art would not have made sense to Asawa. "Art is doing. Art deals directly with life. "
Pinaree Sanpitak is a Thai contemporary conceptual artist. Her work focuses on the womanhood, motherhood and also the exploration of the human form and humanity itself, seeing the body as a site of experiences and impressions. Her works (sculpture, painting, drawing, installation, ceramics, printmaking, photography, performance) often delve into the affective relationships between humans. Pinaree is the mother of a son she had 21 years ago. Since that experience of giving birth, of raising and specifically of breastfeeding, the artist has been obsessed with the female form, particularly the form of the breast. She first appeared in his early anatomical paintings and charcoal drawings.
While she was breastfeeding her child, she realized how the breast supported life itself, and in her subsequent practice, Sanpitak has seen beyond the mother-child connection to the breast as a metaphor for femininity and the identity of the woman-mother. The breast shape appears in various mediums in which she works: installation, painting, drawing, sculpture, fabric, paper ... She has appeared so much that she is often referred to as the artist of the breasts. Among her most famous works is the Noon-Nom installation. The word "Nom" in the title translates to breast milk, which emphasizes the nurturing role. The title and form of the work evoke the earlier instinct to snuggle into the mother's soft, fleshy breast for warmth and nourishment. Noon-nom invites the visitor not only to touch the artwork, but also to be touched, approaching a familiar form that is nurturing, sensual, and sacred: the human female breast. These soft, organza-covered sculptures are part of Sanpitak's extensive and continuous body of works in different mediums that incorporate the human body as a container and a mound.
She questions attitudes towards the female breast in meaning as a natural form that symbolizes nourishment and comfort, as well as portrays the sensual and spiritual female body. "... it is working with organic and geometric forms to convey something of her lived expression of her as a woman"
Barbara Herpworth was an English artist and sculptor.
Despite the difficulties of trying to gain a position in what was practically a man's field, she won a scholarship to attend the Royal College of Art in London.
Barbara herself followed the path of modernism from the beginning and on her travels through Europe, after finishing her degree in arts, she visited the studios of Jean Arp, Pablo Picasso, and Constantin Brâncuși.
At age 30, in 1933, Hepworth co-founded the Unit One art movement with other British artists, critics and architects. The movement sought to unite surrealism and abstraction in British art. A year later Hepworth gave birth to triplets. Her father, Ben Nicholson, who was married to another woman, returned to Paris with her and Barbara had to face as a single mother raising the babies and her delicate state of health. In letters published recently, apart from the love she showed for the babies, a deep postpartum depression and the great difficulties she went through to get them, her four-year-old son, herself and her art, are perceived. She just couldn't handle everything. Barbara found a bright and beautiful nursery where each baby could be cared for by a nurse. She was tempted by the idea but she couldn't bear the idea of ​​parting with her babies. "The thought of not having them with her hers made her deeply unhappy, but the thought of not being able to do her work hers also made her deeply unhappy." With what finally the triplets went to the nursery four months after being born. Hepworth has historically been seen as quite career-driven, but she was also trying to make the right choice for her babies. She adored them. "
She visited her babies every day and worked in her studio.
When the children, Rachel, Sarah, and Simon returned with her mother, she poetically distributed the space they had and organized it so that everything fit together, her motherhood and her creation "... as our lives are overlapping in these ways in lockdown. " Later they lived in the Trewyn Studio artist colony in St Ives where she did not stop creating until her death.
Sarah Maldonor was a French filmmaker of African descent. She is considered the first great African filmmaker.
Maldonor lived through an important historical period, revolutions, advances, colonizations, liberations, slavery and progress. She came to France alone and orphaned and had a tough adolescence from which she took refuge in culture. Her struggle from art is for colonial liberation "My ancestors were slaves ... Who would tell the African story better than ourselves?"
In 1956 she co-founded Les Griots in Paris, the country's first theater group made up solely of African and Afro-Caribbean actresses and actors. But she quickly realized that the theater was not the way to reach a large number of people and she left the company and Paris after receiving a scholarship to study film in Moscow with the Soviet director Mark Donskoi.
After her studies in the Soviet Union and several jobs as an assistant in different films shot in Africa (including The Battle of Algiers)
Sarah Maldoror led her own path and shot the wars for liberation in Africa, focusing on the work of women in such circumstances. Ella maldoror fixed her poetic gaze not only on the anti-colonial struggle but also on African festivals and traditions, carnivals or the lives of her admired artists. She shot more than 40 movies. In 1971 she went to the jungle of Guinea Bisseau to shoot Des fusils pour Banta, with the support of the Algerian government and a cast made up of resistance fighters who played her own role. Three months of pure odyssey. She maldonor wanted to make female guerrillas visible in the film, which the government did not like, which confiscated the film and gave her 48 hours to leave the country. Maldonor had two daughters, Annouchka de Andrade, born in Moscow while her mother was studying filmmaking and now director of the Festival International du Film d'Amiens and cultural activist, tells how her mother constantly took them to the cinema as a mandatory family activity and how her creative career of his mother enriched his childhood.
Alice Neel was an American portrait painter considered one of the most important American figurative artists of the 20th century. Neel herself developed a personal and characteristic approach to the human body, working from life and memory, creating portraits of the people around her. Her paintings relate to social issues, gender, sexuality, motherhood and challenge the traditional and objectified nude representations of women from her male predecessors. Neel moved to Havana with her husband, the painter Carlos Enriquez, where she socialized with artists and musicians of the time. They had a daughter, Santillana, who a year later and recently transferred back to the United States died of diphtheria, which for Neel was a profound lifelong trauma, which would reflect on her work throughout her career. her. In time they had a second daughter, Isabetta, but Enríquez took her back to Havana, taking her away from her mother. This second loss caused Neel to collapse and she was hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital. After these bouts of depression, Neel practically lived in poverty, although she painted. She had two other children with different men and she tells how many times she had to steal to feed them.
She surrounded herself with artists, intellectuals, and political leaders of the Communist Party.
One of her most famous series is about nudes of pregnant women:
"It isn't what appeals to me, it's just a fact of life. It's a very important part of life and it was neglected ... I think its part of the human experience. Something that primitives did, but modern painters have shied away from because women were always done as sexual objects. A pregnant woman has a claim staked out; she is not for sale. " At the end of the 60s Neel became a feminist icon and recognition finally came to her work. By the mid-70s she was already recognized as an important American artist. She received the National Women's Caucus for Art award. In 2007 her grandson Andrew Neel recorded a documentary about the life and work of the painter.
Elinor Carucci is a contemporary photographer and artist from Israel.
In Jerusalem, her hometown, she studied music, she joined the army for two years and graduated from the academy of arts and design with a degree in photography. She later moved to New York with her husband and her two twin children. Elinor had started her work as an artistic photographer during adolescence, capturing scenes of her mother. “She was demanding and strict, loving and beautiful. When I started to take pictures of her, so many things happened. All those qualities that were difficult to deal with became kind of material for work,” she says. “It made me see so much more of her and got our relationship to deeper places.” Since her beginning her career has evolved closely linked to her private life and her personal relationships and with the world that surrounds her, there is no way to separate her life and her work, Elinor dedicates years of her experiences to her series of photographs for later publish and expose them as monographs.
In 2013 she published the culmination of her ten-year-old's work, Mother. The series begins with photographs of her pregnancy, followed by an emergency cesarean section, breastfeeding two babies, postpartum, parenting ... in each one she puts a magnifying glass and we see in detail and in the foreground all the faces of the maternity. "I felt and saw so much in those first months - the beauty and ugliness, the tears and laughter, the extremes you come to know when you’re a new parent. I tried somehow to deal with it all through my camera, hoping to portray the complexity of motherhood as honestly as I could. It was too intense, too rich, to express only through “Madonna and child” images. It’s not that I didn’t have those magical, peaceful moments with my babies, and I did take that kind of photo, but there was so much more to tell and to show."
Mari Katayama (1987) is a multifaceted japanese artist who mainly focuses her work on her own body and its interaction with elements of her imagination.
Katayama has a genetic condition from birth which caused her to start using prosthetics at the age of nine.
She suffered as a child and adolescent because of her condition and her bullying at school. She was developing an interest in art and drawing, where she took refuge from a hostile world on all fronts, from mobility to changing rooms to disabled. So she began her first projects as an artist, customizing her prosthetic legs or designing high-heeled shoes for people with prosthetics. Her work grew out of her body and her perspective of him and herself. Katayama photographs herself alongside embroidered and self-created objects, arms, legs, stumps, cushions in confusing shapes, or jewelry. She uses her own body as a living sculpture and usually portrays herself in her own personal space, such as her room or other places where her own essence feels powerful.
All the elements that make up her works and her installations are painstakingly created by her in her studio at Gunma. In 2016 she experienced the pregnancy of her first daughter, Himari. "The pregnancy changed the perception of my body and, by extension, my work. It was a lot of fun. The experience of creating the work bystander, which focused on the body and life of others, turned out to be very useful for my actual pregnancy and childbirth. The process of bearing discomfort into reconciliation through the appearance of others in my work was very similar to my experience of bearing another being in my body. Hyperemesis gravidarum, which is a pregnancy complication that causes nausea, vomiting, and weight loss, is said to be a rejection to the symbiosis of a foreign body in mother’s bodies. As the stomach grows and joints weaken, the feeling of handling my changing body was just like what happens in my practice. Strangely enough, one can often learn lessons from one’s own work."
Ana Casas Roda (1965) is a Spanish-Austrian photographer. She spent her childhood between Spain, Austria, and Mexico, where she studied art, history, and photography.
In her childhood she spent long periods with her maternal grandmother in Vienna, which inspired her to create her first project, Album, in which Ana speaks of a deep need to capture time with her grandmother in words, photos, recordings and videos. “These objects show the cycle of our lives. My grandmother photographed me as a child, as I took pictures of her during her last years and in turn she photographed her own mother before she died. "
Starting from this need, Ana bases her work on her experiences and memories. Apart from the photographs in which she usually recreates actions and scenarios, her series are also made up of memories that she keeps, notes and notebooks. In Ana Diet Notebooks she keeps track of her diets daily for eight years. She every day she writes down what she eats and takes pictures
"I had a need to look at myself, explore myself and realize the fissure between my body and its reflection, the deep need to build an image of myself." In 2016 she had her first child and she started Kinderwunsh, a project about the complexity of the motherhood experience and the relationship with her children.
For seven years she took photographs, wrote and kept memories. As in her previous works, the body and the house are fundamental axes “The backbone of the project is this constantly changing fabric of relationships between us in the process of becoming a mother and building their identity. It became more and more complex. We build scenarios in which actions are carried out. Sometimes they were ideas of my children, other images that arise from my fantasies. The photo depends on the action and is always a discovery. I am interested in working with experiences from the border between everyday life and the actions that are carried out for the camera. Photography as a search for appearances of a reality not always visible, a space that reveals essential aspects of relationships "