Man-Sized, digital collage, 25cm x 25cm, Helen Sargeant ©

About Helen Sargeant

I am a visual artist, mother of two children aged 12 and 4, and co-founder of the MeWe arts collective. I intend to use this site to explore how my personal experiences as a mother informs my arts practice. To reflect upon the maternal in relationship to memory, loss, and mental health in particu…Read more


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4 Responses to “Man-Sized”

  1. Jasmine Gauthier

    I can’t quite figure out what it is about this piece that I love so much. It’s possibly a combination of things.

    The deep pink broken condom, broken femidom shape, they are both indistinguishable when broken really. Is it actually the disintegration of the womb, is it the end of a period, of a pregnancy… It’s violent and yet soft and floating, a bit like a pin prick or a paper cut. The little droplets of blood fall and appear far worse than the cut itself.

    And yet… the family portrait, all together, happy, different shapes, different sizes, but together, united… a car implying stability and yet transience… Time and people are always shifting, always changing, especially in a family environment.

    I never really thought about it that much as a teenager, about the fleeting moments of intense friendships filled with laughter, music obsessions, poor fashion experiments… That was all a stage, but it felt like it would last forever at the time.

    I feel that this is about time changing, things shifting, but that’s okay, life is how it should be.

  2. Helen Sargeant

    Thank you Jasmine for your intelligent reading of this drawing. Your words have cheered me today between the house work and application writing activities, its lovely to know that my work has connected with you.

    I’ve just been rummaging in the vacuum cleaner dust bag to rescue pieces of lego that I suctioned up by mistake, which was revolting-the things you do for love.

    I only completed this collage yesterday so its meanings I guess are yet to solidify in my own mind. A lot of my working is about the placing, juxtaposition of forms and ideas. “Seeing” what happens with the composition how this might imply a narrative.

    I wanted to do something with the drawing that Naoise rapidly made in biro on our front room table. An image of our family, I really adore that it feels so animated, joyous and alive. Sometimes I struggle to see the joy in family life and I was reassured to see how he perceives us his family, as something positive.

    I have been playing with breast, phallus imagery, combining the two, referencing Louise Bourgeois 1968 sculpture Fillette.

    I thought it would be fun to place a representation of a family onto of a slumped, flaccid, breast phallus. I thought of the breast, phallus form as being exhausted, drained finished with. The type of exhaustion that is felt after having a heavy period, giving birth, or simply the on-going maintenance of family life.

    I made the image of the used condom/femidom when making a series of drawings about breastfeeding , it was a happy accident, I was waiting for an opportune time to utilise it. It was made by blowing ink mixed with washing up liquid onto paper. A bubble popped and produced this form.

    I enjoy what you say about the car and being transient, moving through life.

    The title Man-Sized came from thinking about tissues, cleaning up after children, snotty noses, wiping bottoms. Of cleaning up after sex, or after blood drops onto the bathroom floor when I am having a period. I was also referencing PJ Harvey’s song Man-Sized. When I am in a good mood, I am a woman that wants to feel Man-Sized !

  3. Rebecca Baillie

    I really like this series that you are developing Helen. I imagine that all of the works together, accompanied by your free flow writing, would make a beautiful book. I think the way that you are incorporating your children’s drawings within yours is clever and original.

  4. Helen Sargeant

    Rebecca, thanks for your kind words of support. I had been thinking that I would like to develop the work that I have making through this project into a book.


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