Mothersuckers Project

Mothersuckers is a project arising out of the collaboration between myself and artist Zoë Gingell, drawn from our personal and artistic responses towards pregnancy and motherhood and the maternal as a way of being in the world and in relation to art making.

There is a particular focus on the reappraisal of one’s own body, as a dual conduit of connection and separation, of oneself and sense of self in relation to the ‘other’ imagined yet real being, growing within during pregnancy and then later the psychological and emotional connections involved within the closely shared physical relationship of mother and child; then the maternal journey beyond early years into menopause and the cycle of life itself.

Our collaborative practice began with a series of weekly conversations during which we discussed how the process of becoming a mother had physically and psychologically altered our sense of self; how we felt as individuals about the transformative maternal body; notions of how body changed for us in pregnancy, becoming the 'other', body as an other, me and not me. Being able to explore and articulate our feelings to another artist, allowed us to talk about the subtlety and profoundness of what we were experiencing as mothers in a way that was hard to express outside of this context.

Zoë Gingell

At the end of 2011 the Mothersuckers Project formally became an arts organisation with the following aims:

  • To enable artists whose practice has been or is currently substantially affected by the experience of parenthood.
  • To provide a point of contact whereby ideas and work related to the above can be discussed and promoted.
  • To contribute to long term studies of work being made about the subject in relation to art debate.
  • To act as a model of good practice for other areas across Wales and further afield.

Mothersuckers Project Blog

Maternal Attitudes Symposium 2018
An exciting symposium which over the course of one day brought together artists, curators, policy makers and thinkers to explore the current role of the maternal voice in practice, its sustainability and visibility within arts programming. Together we explored how mother/parent artists make work, what our practice says about the condition of the maternal/parental and how we can recognize the radical and cutting edge contribution that maternal practice has to offer to the arts. 

Keynote speaker: Deidre Donoghue, M/Other Voices (Rotterdam). Deidre’s groundbreaking work has promoted the maternal as a system of seeing, thinking and relating to the world: “a system which completely breaks away from the binaries of the feminine / masculine oppositions through the maternal body’s pivotal role to natality and otherness”. 

The symposium took place in partnership with the University of South Wales, Made Gallery Cardiff and the Mothersuckers Project and was supported with funding from the Arts Council of Wales ‘Sharing Together Fund’

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Megan Wynne “Untitiled” (from the Mask of Motherhood Project) 2016

Corpsfertilebody 2013

21 artists (11 from UK, mostly based in Wales and 10 artists based in the Perigord region of France) created work curated by Zoë Gingell (the Mothersuckers Project) and Laura Leeson (ARTicle 19) in response to works from collections in 3 Museums in Wales and the Musée du Perigord  where this project was conceived – all relating to the theme of Fertlity.  

The contemporary artworks were installed in an empty 17th Century Chateau. Sculpture, film, painting and photography by contemporary artists sat alongside digital images of the ‘original’ artefacts that were selected from the various Museum collections. Artists chose an artifact with which to respond/interact or as a starting point for their inspiration. Some artifacts already reflected certain artists’ past work. The commonality of the feminine and fertile power was evident in many forms. The exhibition also brought museum and arts audiences together to discover contemporary and historical works within an exciting new setting.

Acknowledgements: (ARTicle 19 and The Mothersuckers Project would like to thank all the partners who made this exhibition possible through their support and funding including: The Welsh Arts Council and Wales Arts International, Ceredigion Museum, St. Fagan’s Museum, Carmarthenshire County Museum, Musée du Perigord, in particular the participating artists: Natasha Mayo. Laurence Verger, Betty Arab, Nicolas Bazès, Philippe Demeillier, Gail Howard, Roger Morton, Bernard Dupuy, Jean-Christophe Long, Laura Leeson, Pierre Carcauzon, Ione Rucquoi, Natalia Dias, Nervous Energy collective, Eve Dent, Zoë Gingell, Joshua Leeson and Clémentine Mitrani. )

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