The Mother Artists Campaign
Motherhood is political. Yes it is.
Is there any facet of motherhood that it isn’t political? No there isn’t.
Motherhood is political. Power structures and systems dictate the well-being of mothers depending on their demographic status. From big-picture policy and law making to the ever-persistent minutiae of mommy shaming on social media, motherhood is not an even playing field. At its best, motherhood brings meaning to one’s life. At its worst, it can be punitive, even deadly. Even the decision to participate in parenting is political. Motherhood is not neutral.
Everything a woman of reproductive age makes is seen through this contradictory lens. She is praised and penalized through this fecundity-smudged lens. If she has children, she can expect feedback on whether to incorporate their needs in her art or rigorously exclude their lives from her practice, and she can expect people not to see this criticism as political.
In this season when politics are much in the forefront of everyone’s minds, the Forty-Four Point Four Collective has produced two series of bilingual commercially printed Coroplast signs to open new conversations about art-making and motherhood. (Or should that be child-making and arthood?). A third series will conclude the The Mother Artists Campaign and will be released in tandem with our first official group exhibition in 2023.
The Mother Artists Campaign: Ballot Initiative is a project in flux. The members of Forty-Four Point Four will install signs at various locations through the tenure of the project. Our members have been moving the signs around Ottawa and posing with them in public and private places we find meaningful, then sharing our photographs and performances online. We also encourage people to engage with the project in person, should they come across us in action.