Mummy Dearest, 150x50x4cm


Works on canvas that feature mummies with red dresses.

‘Why do the English have the same word for a swaddled corpse and cuddly maternity?’ AS Byatt

In every culture there are taboos about motherhood. Constraints that contain and hold motherhood in ideality, and make her less human. Recent discovery of tattoos on the dessicated skin of mummies and their close examination has brought new knowledge of possibilities of how they lived in life. We are drawn to something very mortal about ancient mummies despite the immortality they have attained. It at once deifies and reifies them. The respect they have attained in death probably did not reflect how they were treated in life.

I like the strange juxtaposition and word play between mummy (motherhood) and mummified – and also between re-dress. Coccooned, dessicated, their skin like parchment, preserved mummies have had the life sucked out of them. Anachronistically adding red dresses brings them to life, honouring them, yet questioning the way at once we idolize and denigrate other mummies – real life mothers. I want to ask questions about how we treat mothers/mummies in Western societies.

To view other works in the series: large sized painting catalogue 2019