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Searching for the feminine: Motherhood and Maternal Subjectivity in Indonesian Visual Arts

Sat, June 25, 5:00 to 6:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 103


During the formative years of Indonesian modern art history, motherhood was considered to be a purely sentimental subject matter, i.e. a glorification of the feminine and strongly embedded in the masculine nationalist discourse. The paper shall discuss how the art works by contemporary women artists such as Titarubi and Laksmi Shitaresmi challenge these stereotypes by depicting a more nuanced representation of motherhood and maternal subjectivity. The paper will also discuss the distinction between motherhood as the lived-in experience of daily chores and pleasures for women as mothers, and maternal subjectivity as a site of the psychic dimension of emotion and feeling. Furthermore, the paper shall examine the works of these artists as a potential for a feminist reading within Indonesian art history by looking at how of the experience of motherhood as central to, and inseparable from, their life as artists.