Female performers, and female artists in general, have been exploring ways of connecting the daily life of women and mothers to their artwork probably forever. One of my favourite performance artists, Bobby Baker, has made a whole variety of performances about these things: Drawing on a Mother's Experience and The Kitchen Show are two brilliant examples of how the daily 'ordinary' lives of mothers can be the compelling subject of performances (http://dailylifeltd.co.uk/). More recently performance artist Jenny Lawson has been exploring ways of using baking as the central dramaturgical structure in her performances: transforming the white gallery space to a feast for the senses, whilst questioning cultural notions of the domestic goddess (http://jennylawsonperformance.wordpress.com/). In Wales, Eve Dent and Zoe Gingell have presented a variety of works as part of the wonderfully-titled Mothersuckers project (http://mothersuckersproject.blogspot.co.uk/).
The old feminist treatise that the personal is political has been bandied about for almost half a century, and yet still some people don't get it. A couple of years ago I overheard a prestigious male poet say that the "problem" with much of women's poetry is that it is too personal. Why is the personal problematic? For me its only an issue if the personal experience has not been shaped through some sort of crafting- for surely this is what makes it Art. Autobiography in itself is not necessarily Art. It's how we transmute that raw material that makes it possible to find some real nuggets of gold.
This past week I have been working on the second phase of R&D for My Real Mother project, which has been made possible by some R&D funding from ACW, and for which I am grateful. The work is about my mother, sort of, and about my relationship to her. I've been wondering what makes a story worth telling? Or perhaps more significantly in performance, worth listening to? How can I take the personal, the daily, the ordinary, and make it resonant for others?
I'll be sharing some of these explorations in Bridgend on Wednesday in an informal sharing 11-12pm. It is open to the public, and if you're interested in coming along to take part in these conversations please get in touch for further details (email trebreathnach @ gmail.com). (Photo credit Peter Morgan). (www.traceofthesea.com/my-real-mother)
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