Motherhood failure, Accessible art, Reveal, Togetherness, Relief
With this phrase I am referring to the perceived failure that is experienced when being a mother does not offer up the family and life that was anticipated at its inception. I believe that most mothers hope for a life where they have happy, healthy children, where they are the storybook mother, building strong and satisfying relationships with their well-adjusted and caring children. When this does not eventuate, there is a feeling of failure that encompasses elements of grief, guilt, shame and loss. In my case this environment of motherhood failure arose in the context of the development of autism spectrum disorder, followed by schizophrenia, in my eldest child. But I am sure there are many other similar difficulties that seemingly put the success of motherhood in doubt. The ‘failed’ mother cannot help making comparisons with other mothers, and if they find no chink in the presented persona, this only serves to accentuate the divide between herself and others who do not appear to have experienced this motherhood failure.
I see accessible art as work where all elements necessary to render meaning visible are present and the artwork invites viewing by being attractive. Accessible art is resilient and able to be presented in a variety of situations. It speaks of the everyday and utilises familiar materials. Perhaps the work could be so accessible that its creation could even be seen to be achievable by the viewer. I think of accessible art as being art that breaches the intimidating boundary of the gallery and allows entry into the art world, for viewers who have previously felt excluded.
verb and noun
With this word I am discussing my way of presenting content. To reveal is not just to document but to be bold in the telling, pushing the boundaries of the personal, and bringing pain out into the light. Revealing is exposing those things that may often be kept hidden, the shameful or the sad, and suggests a collaboration with those on the other side of the reveal. In my case to reveal shares some similarity with confession and is a necessary process for me to be able to move forward with real relationships.
I have struggled to find a word that accurately describes the feeling you get when you know that you are not alone in a bad situation. I feel like it is the opposite of loneliness I am looking for, but I could not find an adequate antonym to loneliness. Instead, I am going for the opposite of alone, together, which is not quite right, but I will attempt to appropriate it for this use, nonetheless. Togetherness will be used in the sense of a recognition of emotional unity and understanding, rather than physical proximity. A knowledge that a situation is not unique, and somewhat like the old adage, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. A connection or bond, grounded in situational similarities. And maybe even with a little tiny touch of schadenfreude, whereby you feel a pleasurable togetherness when difficulties are acknowledged by those who may have previously been seen to be unscathed.
This leads on to my definition of relief, which is a wide-ranging feeling that is not as strong or definitive as healing, but more related to a receding of pain, albeit maybe temporary. In writing about my work, this feeling of relief will stem in part from the togetherness mentioned above, but also contain within it a component of aesthetic pleasure and references to physical comfort. On a personal level relief will also mean the feeling that results from indulging my compulsion to admit shame or failure, as well as the sensation of mindfulness, whereby personal anxieties are pushed to the back of my mind for a time.
Keywords so far are only 643 words but I am going to ask Toby tomorrow if I am meant to go beyond definitions to give examples of use as it applies to my work.