One of the greatest fears of motherhood is failing your child. I like to think of this guilt internalised patriarchy. Even though mothers spend most of their time planning, optimising and thinking about their children, it still doesn't feel enough. The routine of child rearing is mind-numbing. It can overwhelm and severely damage your self worth and identity.. Most of us have accepted this state of limbo and stagnation and wouldn’t even think of questioning it.
In the paintings below, explore the limbo of incessant routine and caregiving and the isolation that motherhood creates. Becoming a mother creates a rupture, both physical and mental, swallowing the individual whole.
The colossal responsibility of meeting the physical and mental needs of a child falls on a mother. A role she is left to fulfil all by herself during the pandemic as the primary caregiver. The isolation and uncertainty has doubled with the coronavirus. So how does a mother keep sane and cope with this? Where does she find reassurance?
BAD MAMA PROJECT
The lonely balloon is colourful and is happy to play with the child. Yet, it feels tied down and yearns for the open skies and freedom. The suspension of the balloon is used as a metaphor for the oblivion that one finds oneself in while going through the routine of child rearing.
A semi-permanent state of social isolation yet never having a moment to yourself sums up motherhood, at least in the early years. My paintings Chipkoo, Not a moment alone(lightbox), Mama Look Here explore a child’s non-stop and mind-numbing need for attention. The routine of child rearing is mind-numbing. It can overwhelm and severely damage one’s self worth and identity. Add to this the internalised guilt of feeling like a bad mother for wanting a respite from the routine.
I use childlike and free strokes to contextualise the subject and show the internal and external chaos.