Anna Lewis

Mothersuckers

Mothersuckers were supported in a collaborative project between them and Art13 in France exploring traditional folk notions of parenthood and contemprary artistic responses, culminating in an exhibition in France. Upon completion of the project, they stated:

"The project’s aim was to bring the ‘Corps Fertile Body’ Exhibition to fruition in the summer of 2013. After 2 years of establishing relationships with the two key French partners: namely Article 19 association based in the Dordogne and the Director of the Museum of the Perigord, the project idea was developed:

Producer / curators from Article 19 (France) and Mothersuckers Project (Wales) would select 8 French artists and 8 Welsh Artists to be invited to make ‘new or contemporary’ work in response to artefacts within partnered Museum collections in France and in Wales which represented aspects of Fertility. This involved a period of Research from curators within the Museums, who collaborated in fulfilling the request to propose artefacts and source images within the collections of 3 Welsh museums.
As a Director and producer of the Mothersuckers project, the support and funding gave me an introduction into the collections of welsh museums which I had never visited before such as Ceredigion Museum, Carmarthenshire Museum and St. Fagans. The working relationships gained through developing the project with Folklore and textile curators and the Director of the museums enabled a privileged insight into past culture which has fed back into my own personal practice, new connections and areas which has continued to inspire new work and ideas. It has sparked an interest in how buildings and bodies are linked and specifically the feminine body culturally and how within Welsh folklore and across the world, notions of Feminine or fertile power has been adopted as a signifier to be harnessed and feared within the realm of the domestic body or house, ideas which I and my collaborator Eve Dent are keen to take further within our work in relation to ideas sourced from the Welsh / Celtic locale.

A third partner – an aggregate firm MEAC who specialised in "fertiliser" provided the site for the exhibition – the Chateau de Tinteillac, a 16th Century empty building which we occupied entirely and filled with sited works from French and Welsh Artists.

Practically, the project strengthened the existing Welsh/ French working partnerships between Article 19 and Mothersuckers and between these producing bodies as agents on behalf of the artists and the public, and the Museums. Whilst feeding a mutual interest in our cultures – we felt like Ambassadors of our own bit of Welsh culture in terms of contemporary life and within the broader historical context. It provided us too with a crucial overview of how our cultural environment in Cardiff as Welsh artists is perceived when placed next to or within another culture and yet the work itself stood its ground aesthetically and powerfully; perceived universally and specifically as relevant by locals and tourist alike in terms of audiences visiting the work. Conversations between artists and associations established a dialogue of mutual respect and comparison in terms of themes which crossed over within the works and across gender.

The exhibition was a success by anyone’s standards, critically as cited by the responses of the Directors of the museum in Perigord (Veronique Merlin-Anglade see appendices) and by the number of visitors to a very rural location – over 500 people visited over a period of one month."

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