I am a mother and an artist: I’ve been making work for over twenty years; I’ve been a mother for a little over two years, and I have just turned 40. Finally time to stop saying, “When I grow up I will…..”, time to get on with it, stick my neck out, start the revolution. So here it is:

Mother and artist: I believe these are two of the most important jobs on the planet. Both are fuller than full time: this is work that will not be left behind at 5pm, work that wakes you up at night. It is work that challenges and undoes the dichotomy of ‘personal’ versus ‘professional’ to which our society is strongly attached, to the denigration of the personal. They are both jobs which are concerned with fundamental questions of identity: looking after and making sense of who we are, where we have come from, who we might become. Mothers and artists are as vital, arguably more so, than bankers and politicians to our future. Despite this both jobs have precious little status in the current cultural climate: most mothering and much art-making goes on unpaid.

In many ways artists have it worse off than mothers: at least the importance of birthing, caring for children, is not denied even if people still talk about ‘just being a mum.’ On the other hand, being an artist is at least considered a profession and a few artists, albeit a privileged few, have immense clout. I think there is something useful about aligning these two jobs of mother and artist: there are many parallels between them, and in naming these the status of both goes up. Let’s take them both more seriously, more professionally, more playfully, more personally, in our individual and collective lives.

This is a call to all artists, mothers, children, fathers, partners, grandparents, aunts, uncles, anyone and everyone who is mothering anything, to see how we can support each other to do the work we care about with everything we have - body and soul -  and make it better valued.

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