image: Janine Antoni, 2038 (2000). © Janine Antoni
Launching in March 2024 at Arnolfini, Hayward Gallery Touring’s major group exhibition Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood will plunge into the joys and heartaches, mess, myths and mishaps of motherhood through over 100 artworks, from the feminist avant-garde to the present day.
While the Madonna and Child is one of the great subjects of European art, we rarely see art about motherhood as a lived experience, in all its complexity. Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood will address this blind spot in art history, asserting the artist mother as an important – if rarely visible – cultural figure.
Featuring the work of more than sixty modern and contemporary artists, this exhibition will approach motherhood as a creative enterprise, albeit one at times tempered by ambivalence, exhaustion or grief. Acts of Creation will explore lived experience of motherhood, offering a complex account that engages with contemporary concerns about gender, caregiving and reproductive rights.
The exhibition will address diverse experiences of motherhood across three themes: Creation, which looks at conception, pregnancy, birth and nursing; Maintenance which explores motherhood and caregiving in the day-to-day; and Loss, which touches on miscarriage and involuntary childlessness, as well as reproductive rights. The heart of the exhibition is a series of revelatory self-portraits – a celebration of the artist as mother.
Featuring painting, photography, sculpture, sound and film, artists in the exhibition include: Felicity Allen, Janine Antoni, Cassie Arnold, Artists Campaign to Repeal the 8th, Bobby Baker, Clare Bottomley, Elina Brotherus, Lea Cetera, Jai Chuhan, Eileen Cooper, Renee Cox, Dorothy Cross, Rineke Dijkstra, Leni Dothan, Catherine Elwes, Tracey Emin, Jessa Fairbrother, Feministo, VALIE EXPORT, Maeve Gilmore, Anna Grevenitis, Ghislaine Howard, The Hackney Flashers, Camille Henrot, Barbara Hepworth, Susan Hiller, Chantal Joffe, Claudette Johnson, Mary Kelly, Liss LaFleur, Tala Madani, Sally Mann, Wangechi Mutu, Ishbel Myerscough, Everlyn Nicodemus, Catherine Opie, Fani Parali, Celia Paul, Paula Rego, Su Richardson, Jenny Saville, Monica Sjöö, Annegret Soltau, Tabitha Soren, Heather Spears, Hannah Starkey, Emma Talbot, Barbara Walker, Caroline Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, Nancy Willis, Hermione Wiltshire, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Christine Voge, Del LaGrace Volcano, Carmen Winant and Billie Zangewa.
Acts of Creation will be accompanied by a lively programme of public events and an illustrated book published by Thames and Hudson.
Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood is curated by Hettie Judah with Hayward Gallery Touring and will go onto:
Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), Birmingham: 22 June to 29 September 2024
Millennium Gallery, Sheffield: 24 October 2024 to 21 January 2025
Dundee Contemporary Arts: Spring 2025 (exact dates to be confirmed)
21 December 2023 - 19 December 2024