Helen Sargeant (UK, West Yorkshire)
Don’t Scribble Me Out (2014)
This self-portrait depicts me as both mother and child. Sticking together two moments in time it plays with ideas within my wider practice that are concerned with maternal ambivalence, vulnerability and the effect of the transition into motherhood on a woman’s identity. It’s about the child that still lives inside, a child learning to mother or a child that has become trapped. It’s about loss and a yearning for freedom, independence, a life before.
A felt tip pen drawing by my 4 year old son was carefully traced, cut out and superimposed on a family photograph taken by my father in 1973 in which I am happily balanced on top of my mother’s shoulders. My son’s drawing depicts me shouting. Marks from the drawing obliterate parts of my mother’s face. The title of this artwork comes from her reaction to the work when she first viewed it.
I am interested in how lines can transmute feelings. When scribbling out my mother’s face I was in fact thinking about my own invisibility as a mother and full time carer of a young child. I thought that the drawing by my son was really fascinating as it captured the sense of frustration and isolation that I felt whilst looking after him at home. I am silently shouting out or screaming from within the drawing. My voice is seen but not heard.
Helen Sargeant is an academic and multi-disciplinary artist. She is the founder and curator of online interdisciplinary maternal art project The Egg The Womb The Head and The Moon (www.eggwombheadmoon.com) and MeWe Art (www.meweart.org), a group of artists from various disciplines who create work about the maternal.