Early Career Curator’s Award: Realising Mother

Denise Ferris, Sally McInerney, Julie Sundberg, Ella Dreyfus, Anke Stäcker, Deborah Kelly, Raphaela Rosella, Miho Watanabe, Sarah Rhodes, Teena McCarthy, Clare Rae, Donna Bailey, Anne Zahalka, Rafaela Pandolfini, Theresa Byrnes and Lottie Consalvo.

Curated by Zorica Purlija as part of the Early Career Curator Award, supported by Kudos Gallery with Arc @ UNSW Art & Design and Art & Design Student Council.

 1-18 November 2017
Opening Night: Tuesday 31 October 2017, 5-7 PM

Artist panel chaired by Serafina Lee (winner Emerging Critic Award 2017) Tuesday 14 November 2017, 5.30-7.30

Closing drinks and artist floor talk Saturday 18 November 2017, 1-3 PM

Realising Mother is a new exhibition presenting photographic, video and blog works by a collection of emerging and established Australian women artists. The exhibition investigates the role of the mother in our culture and the histories that continue to shape that role. 

The photographic image is, as always, in flux. We are experiencing a glut of imagery through social media. The photograph has chameleon qualities and can adapt itself to many forms. An excessive media-fed society impacted by globalisation and other causes distorts the image and its meanings.

Realising Mother looks at how this affects us all, and explores the issues surrounding the maternal experience. These artists question how we realise and frame images of motherhood and the way the medium of photography has the power to describe real experiences.

This exhibition aims to free us from preconceived ideas and myths around motherhood, replacing them with narratives more relevant to our contemporary experience. Issues explored by these talented artists include; marginalised young mothers, maternal ambivalence, mother daughter relationships, the aging mother, intergenerational inheritance, the loss of identity as mother, the centrality of the mother figure in the family, LBGTQ families and the role of the mother in indigenous cultures. 

This exhibition takes inspiration from the real experience of photographic artist, and the curator of Realising Mother, Zorica Purlija’s role as a mother of three. Purlija also recognises the Women’s Art Movement in Australia (formed in 1974) and Catriona Moore’s book Indecent Exposures (1994) as significant contributions to interpreting the role of women and mothers in contemporary society.The work of these important Australian feminist artists from the 70’s and 80’s was simultaneously serious and morally and ethically driven. Their aims were to create change culturally and socially regarding the female subject, and social and sexual freedoms, interrogating the idea of the male gaze. 

Realising Mother looks at what has changed in the last forty years because of this important work by feminist artists still in our midst, and the ways artists continue to reinterpret the role of mother.

Image: Rafaela Pandolfini '02-02', 2014-15. Single channel video piece 9.2 hours. Photos: Finn Marchant and Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

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