The Artists Residency In Motherhood is a project created by artist Lenka Clayton. Clayton set up the residency to "For the 227 days of the residency the fragmented mental focus, exhaustion, nap-length studio time and countless distractions of parenthood as well as the absurd poetry of time spent with a young child will become the artist’s working materials and situation, rather than obstacles to be escaped from."
On Mother's Day 2016, Clayton created and offered to other artists who are mothers an open source version of the Artist Residency In Motherhood.
I signed up for it in May planning to start my residency in November 2016. It was not until January 2017 that I was able to use the mishaps and interruptions of being a mother to make work. It happened by chance one afternoon while my daughter and I were in the playground but I was wishing I could be in my studio instead.
These images will only exist on my Istagram feed and on this site.These images are a record of my work as a mother, a record of care labor. They are also a record of those moments when my work as mother interrupted my work as an artist. Moments when I had to modify or cancel programed studio time and meetings because of unexpected things happened like for example my daughter getting sick, my husband traveling for work or the babysitter not being available.
Seven years into motherhood, these are still moments of great frustration to me. Most of the time, this frustration yields anger and sadness. It is in trying to understand this anger and sadness that I am taking these images. These images lie. They are not images of happy time spent with my child. What I am thinking at the moment I take these images is that I wish I could be in the studio instead of having to take care of my child.
The content and production of these images are about:
#portraitofamother - What is motherhood? Is there only one way to be a mother? Can one simultaneously love and enjoy being a mother as much as despise it? Which/where are the images of motherhood?
#invisibility - Do we exists beyond our motherhood once we become mothers? What do people see when they see us as mothers?
#carelabor - Where is the value of our work as mothers? Why is there more value put into other labors/jobs? Why is care labor assumed to be the innate performance of the mother? Where are mother's support systems?
#body - In this scenario, what is my body? Is it a tool, a political statement, a tired presence?
#absence and #presence - In "wanting it all," have we lost it all? Am I present when I care for my child when I make art? Or is it that I am absent from all and every activity I do since I am not fully present in any of them?
#virtuallife - Does all this work have a place in the real world, meaning the one outside social media and our computers? Are these images a representation of anything real?