Mothers as Artists

by Sarah Hayes

I am a huge fan of Cig Harvey and was extremely excited to see new images from her latest series ‘You An Orchestra You A Bomb’ pop up within my Instagram notifications. I had planned to write a review of this series, until I stumbled across an article in the ‘News’ tab of Harvey’s website, entitled 'Why Can't Great Artists be Mothers?' (New York Times)

As a mother of two boys, I have sometimes felt that I am unable to spend 100% of my time focused on my photography and art, this has left me feeling at a possible disadvantage, compared to artists who have no children and can remain fully engaged within their creative processes.

‘Why Can’t Great Artist’s be Mothers?’ Was eye opening, encouraging and evidence that great artist’ can be mothers and produced equally amazing work to those women who have chosen not to have children. Harvey states, “ You can be obsessed with two things – art and your child.” Many of Harvey’s photographic projects feature her young daughter Scout; she can be seen as motivating much of Harvey’s images and creative processes “Art is mirroring and life became more complicated and richer in my opinion after Scout was born” (Harvey) As a mother I can relate to Harvey and have many photographs of my children in the midst of wonder and innocence, something many adults lose as pressures of life take hold of them.

The article introduces many successful female artists who are mothers and manage to balance both roles confidently and with enthusiasm. The article made me think of many concerns I have as a female photographer. Sometimes my age worries me as I am in my mid-thirties and feel I have only just started my journey into the photographic medium. When I have these thoughts, I have to remind myself of photographer’s who inspire me and started their photography career later in their lifetime, such as Sarah Moon who was in her early 40’s.

I believe that women do have to sacrifice themselves throughout their lifetimes to fulfill roles they have been accepting to undertake. I feel as time goes on and life begins to feel familiar and manageable, so does our ability to rediscover our authentic self and this is reflective in our artistic ventures, which we can share with new generations.

If you are a mother or father, don’t ever feel that you have expired and cannot achieve your goals, find inspiration in your children and share your creative journey with them.

 Cig Harvey, 2017, Graham's Teeth

Cig Harvey, 2017, Graham's Teeth

 Cig Harvey, 2017, Dahlias

Cig Harvey, 2017, Dahlias

 Cig Harvey, 2017, Scout and the Reflections

Cig Harvey, 2017, Scout and the Reflections

 First Loose Tooth

First Loose Tooth

Work Cited

Harvey, Cig. "You An Orchestra You A Bomb." Cig Harvey. N.p., 2017. Web. 09 Apr. 2017.

Urist, Jacob. "Why Can't Great Artists Be Mothers?" The New York Times. The New York Times, 06 Feb. 2017. Web. 09 Apr. 2017