Mothers Artlovers Manifesto
We are a collective of femme visual artists, theoreticians, curators and activists - open to all for whom art is vitally important, and whose interest in art and creativity has not been impeded by motherhood. We understand maternity as a universal principle of care that is not solely tied to gender identity.
We focus on the specific experiences, troubles and needs of mothers that navigate the art industry. We give support to mothers-artists, mothers-curators and mothers-theoreticians and we amplify their voices in the public space. Given our own experience, we are very perceptive of the needs of other groups who find themselves in a similar manner temporarily or continuously overlooked and excluded. Through communal effort we change the (art) world around us.
We adhere to the feminist belief that personal is political.
Mothers-artists, curators and theoreticians are often exposed to the sexist prejudice that a mother cannot be successful in her occupation, and if she in turn chooses to focus fully on her art career, she then fails as a mother. Under such circumstances, maintaining contact with the professional sphere and simultaneously being a good parent leads to burn-out, forced compromises or even departing the art world entirely. Mothers often cannot afford to pursue a professional career. Without actual support from our surroundings - individuals but mainly institutions - and especially without a direct change in the way that society views working mothers and carers, the situation that women in art face is not going to get better.
Significantly more fathers who take part in childcare have been finding themselves in a similar position in the recent years. The life of a parent is rarely reconcilable with the demands and happenings of the art industry. It is societally normalised that mothers-artist are pushed into the background, their maternity-themed work is downplayed. In better case, their presence in the arts is disregarded but tolerated, in worse case the doors that lead to opportunity are shut from the get go. The disappearance of women from professional life is a problem that our society should not dismiss.
We are not going to let this stand.
We call for:
A change in the way mothers and female artists are perceived in society as well as art institutions.
A higher visibility of parenthood in professional life and the art scene.
A connection between the art industry and the reality of our lives.
Our acknowledgement as accomplished members of the art industry.
A public dialogue leading to the reassessment of current gender schemes.
An open and tolerant space within art institutions.
Having an active part in creating a mutually caring society.
Some customs and habits of our society are built on principles that are incompatible with a sustainable way of life. Prioritising economic interests over human needs and raising the pressure on constant productivity and maximum resource profit have led us to the edge of an ecological catastrophe. Such actions are tied to the assertion of our own impunity and to the race towards success built on repression of the rights of other systematically disadvantaged individuals and groups.
We cannot stand by and idly look on.
We are not just parents-artists. We are inhabitants of this world. A world which is not being passed down to our children in a good condition. We perceive the global climate and social crisis as people who understand the importance of caring for oneself and one’s community. We care about our children, other species and the environment here on Earth. For that reason we place such importance on healing, self-healing, collective being, education and responsibility.
We understand art as a tool for social change.