Motherhood Unmasked: An Introduction

A nappy line of cloth nappies hang across the picture.

 

Hi there!

Welcome to the re-jigged Motherhood Unmasked Blog. If you’re reading this, then you’ve stolen some precious moments to yourself, and good on you. Sit down, put your feet up and take a sip of that hot (or if you’re like me, twice re-heated) cuppa you’ve been waiting to enjoy.

Motherhood Unmasked is a community arts project that myself (Shan, hi!) and Emma (she’s ace, you’ll hear heaps from her) started when we first became mums. We met in our Mothers Group and connected instantly over our mutual love for coffee, art (though neither felt we were particularly good at, but hey, “good” shmood) and our mutual interest in community development.

So, we thought. Let’s drink copious amounts of coffee and rustle up some fabrics, and rather than sit here and talk about our experiences, (although talking is great – we are really good at that), let’s try something different. Let’s combine our collective passion for community, art and the new found world we find ourselves in, and let’s explore our stories. Then this built to, let’s invite others to explore their stories too, and then, hey! Why don’t we have an exhibition to display what we’ve discovered during our artistic explorations of this foreign land of Motherhood. Thus, Motherhood Unmasked was born.

We hunted, we gathered. We found people who wanted to join us on our adventure, we gathered resources from a local art supplier, we found funding from local rotary groups and small businesses and with the support of the amazing Box Hill Community Arts Centre, we ran three workshops and an exhibition over Mothers Day.

It. Was. Incredible. The process was amazing – sitting in a room, taking the time to do something creative with other mums was wonderful, but the big shock came with the exhibition. The response, from participants, families and local community members was surreal. People loved it. They were impacted by it. Yes, the artwork was good, but the stories, the fresh perspective, the things that can only be captured when words aren’t used – that was what impacted people the most.

So, we did it again… And again. Each year brought fresh insight into how powerful art is as both a medium for reflection, and a voice to others. Our stories were told in ways that went beyond what we could have expressed with words alone.

Now, things have changed. One of the key strengths of the original project was that it was grounded in the ‘local’ – local participants, local gallery space, local resources, etc. Now, as Emma and I have both moved with our families to different suburbs, we let Motherhood Unmasked come to a brief hiatus until we could regroup. We decided that Motherhood Unmasked would adapt, much like we needed to adapt to becoming mums, and so we’ll focus, for the moment, on being online and then see where opportunities lead in the future.

Now that we’ve introduced ourselves, what can you expect from us on this blog? Well, we still love art and believe that having creative avenues for story telling and reflection is a great way to nurture and advocate for mums. So, we’ll post about that. We also like to keep tabs on interesting articles, so we’ll pop those up too. We’ll post opinion pieces, possibly interviews, pictures of art, links to relevant articles and events when we can. There are many fantastic blogs for parenting out there, we’re not looking to replace any, just throwing our voice (and yours) into the mix!

We invite you to be involved. We learnt so much from journeying with other mums, we really want that to continue. Get in touch! Send us pics of any inspired moments you’ve had. Do you write poems? Send them on in! Do you have a story you wish to tell? Send that too! We’d love to chat with you.

Take care out there,

Shan

 

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