Tracey Kershaw image of mouths


I look at my 10 year old son, and I wonder…..

–       Did I say the right thing?

–       Did I do the right thing?

–       How did I react?

–       What will he remember?

–       Did he understand my intentions?

–       Did I say the wrong thing?

–       Was I too harsh?

–       Should I have said yes?

–       Why did I react that way?

–       What will he think of me when he’s older?


….and then I look at myself, and I wonder about my mother…..


I began my year-long residency at Nottingham University with a project in mind – “Tell me about your mother’”. Prior to this, my artistic concerns had very much centred on my relationship with my son, and in particular the everyday, incidental moments that we shared; activities that could easily be overlooked such as brushing his hair, cutting his toenails or collecting the fallen peas from his plate. These seemingly minor events gradually became more and more important to me and took on a greater significance; these are the things that I want to remember, the events that will shape the larger picture, and the accumulation of which makes up a whole that is, I believe, our relationship.

Lisa Baraitser in her book, ‘Maternal encounters’ (2009 pp.3-4) describes how exploring “mundane and usually overlooked moments of maternal experience… unexceptional incidents” can create a renewed sense of maternal subjectivity, and can enable the mother, and by extension the viewer of a work, to be “…re-sensitized to sound, smell,emotions, sentient awareness, language, love.

I remember ‘unexceptional incidents’ from my childhood…. at least I have my perception of these events. And these, together with a multitude of other factors, have shaped me into the person I am today.


About Tracey Kershaw

I am an artist and mother. Originally from Wales, I now live and practice in Nottingham, where I studied Fine Art, and am co-founder of the art collective Socket.

My work explores themes of motherhood, ageing and notions of change. I am interested in the familiarity of the everyday, which …Read more


More posts by Tracey Kershaw

One Response to “Tell Me About Your Mother”

  1. Helen Sargeant

    Your observations made me think of the time when my sons were little and learning to eat. All that food painting and playing when more ends up on the floor than in the mouth. I enjoyed watching them making marks, exploring the sticky texture of spaghetti, using porridge as glue, splatting yoghurt, peas becoming cannon balls to fire across the floor. I can also remember feeling very frustrated. The length of time it took for a meal to pass, waiting, being patient, then the clear up afterwards……the devastation. I look back at this time with love, but at the time it felt so endless and monotonous and utterly exhausting.


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