Maternal Matters

Since having my third baby, Sid Jonah Anderson in 2007, I have been exploring Maternal Matters. Maternal Matters is an umbrella name for a number of individual maternal performances, writing experiments, collaborations and videos.

Friday 17 June 2016

Maternal Matters Projects:

  • Manifesto for Maternal Performance (Art) 2016! (with Emily Underwood-Lee, SC Gallery, Zagreb; Royal College of Art, London, Astrid Noack’s Atelier, Copenhagen, 2017)
  • Who wants another baby? video film with the Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home (presented at ‘Žena – trudnica – majka: zelene sfere i nekropolitike / Woman – Expectant – Mother: green spheres and necropolitics’ exhibition at the Centre for Culture in Novi Zagreb, 2017)
  • Medea/Mothers’ Clothes (2016- 2017) revived performance from 2004 juxtaposing  Medea anti-mother archetype with Liverpool toddler groups mothers.
  • 42 Among the Gormleys (2016) maternal performance for my 42nd birthday at Crosby beach
  • Friday Records (2016) live art event at Mart Gallery, Dublin Live Art Festival
  • The Mums and Babies Ensemble (2014 – 2015)
    A collaboration with Duska Radosavljevic and Annie Rigby and babies James, Joakim and Nina, which consisted of a series of workshops, open dramaturgy performances and a production of instructions manual for new mums
  • Friday Records: A Document of Maternity Leave (2014)on line journal consisting of diary entries and photographs recording Lena’s time with baby James
  • Full Term video film with Julieann O’Malley (2014), first presented at Artsmill Gallery in Hebden Bridge as a part of the Egg the Womb the Head and the Moon exhibition in 2014.
  • The Egg, the Womb, the Head and the Moon collaborative blog (2013-2014) writing contributions
  • Mother & Son: ‘that just sounds really sad’ (2011)
    Artist residency and event at 25 Stratford Grove with Neal Anderson (aged 10)
  • Sid Jonah Anderson by Lena Simic (2008)
    a performance showcasing  maternal labour involved in putting a seven month old baby to sleep, presented at MAP Live , Carlisle.
  • Contemplation Time (2007-2008)
    a document of maternity leave consisting of text and photographs


My work has been nurtured and inspired by my involvement and participation at MaMSIE (Mapping Maternal Subjectivities Identities Ethics) research network and the running of The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home. I have first started thinking about the maternal through Medea/Mothers’ Clothes (2004) live art event as a part of my PhD research. Medea/Mothers’ Clothes (2016) was revisited in Studio 12, Bratislava and as a part of Festival of Ideas at Edge Hill University in June 2017.

As the Institute family, we have developed a series of Family Picnics (critical interventions into the institution of family) and performed those at greenroom, Hazard festival, Arnolfini, Bluecoat and Artsadmin. At each one of those, I performed a Mother. Our first family picnic The Hazardous Family took place during the Hazard festival in Manchester in 2008. In terms of artist residencies at the Institute, I was particularly moved by Branka Cvjeticanin, where she became artist/au pair for two weeks in July 2008. This residency allowed me to name my invisible maternal labour by translating it into underpaid au pair labour. In 2011 the Institute hosted a number of ‘family residencies‘.