Delivering Mothers Who Make: 'Infertility in the Arts' Artist Lecture

An artist talk & discussion with Sally Butcher (Birmingham, UK) and heather michel riddle (Philadelphia, US) who in their own unique styles explore the invisibilities and silences of Infertility in (m)otherhood.

Sally Butcher is an artist, lecturer and researcher based in Birmingham, UK. Her practice engages with feminist discourse on subjectivity, through an understanding of embodiment. She is drawn to questioning the visual languages used within conventional representations of female gendered identity, across spheres of the domestic, maternal, and erotic, working mostly through processes of photography, alternative printmaking and drawing. This has led to her current Arts Council funded research practice project, ‘Re.conceive: Investigating the Invisibility of Infertility in the New Wave of Maternal Visual Arts’, which seeks to challenge naturalised reproduction and reframe the narrative of normative motherhood with representations of the sub-maternal.

heather michel riddle (she/her) is a mother, artist and art therapist newly based outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (United States). She makes art to explore and challenge the place of her experience within a larger context – relating the intimate to the larger narrative in order to create a shift in collective norming. Her work is influenced and intertwined by the specific – surroundings, family, daily life – and the broad – mothering, reproductive justice/infertility, mental health and the historical portrayal of women. Often working in series, her practice ranges from painting to printmaking/collage.

Artist lecture I gave as part of Coventry Biennial to Mothers Who Make network.
Coventry Biennial is the UKs social biennial. Coventry Biennial 2021: HYPER-POSSIBLE took place across Coventry and Warwickshire from October 2021 – January 2022.

Mothers Who Make is an international grass roots movement, dedicated to supporting the dual role of mothers and maker/artist/creative. The Coventry hub aims to connect local mother makers through peer support meetings, sharing event, workshops and online discussion. From January 2021 Coventry Biennial will help to support and develop the hub’s peer support meetings, as well as a new programme of activities throughout the next year, including during the 2021 Biennial

Feedback from the lecture:

"Was a privilege to be part of the event and hear more about your work Sally and the stories of those taking part. It felt a positive space for what can be an emotional subject. I also felt a lot of synergy with the work I am making around care/MND/dementia - no control, closed doors, time eating away - and much more."

"Thank so much to both of you, for sharing your work and experiences. You created such a special (& safe) space. I sense that more will come from this."

"Really wonderful and a gift to have it recorded, will look forward to listening again and seeing beautiful artwork"

"This was … deep, fragile, strong and has left an impression. Both your works are excellent, highly skilled and the sharing of your individual experiences, felt like a quiet voice, determined to be heard. Thank you both, ??"

More info click here