Everyone has a unique experience of being mothered, and all mothers have unique experiences of mothering. When Emily van Lidth de Jeude began interviewing mothers for the MAMA Project, she unearthed a trove of stories. Women told of their fears, failures and regrets, but also of their hopes and the marvellous transformations that accompanied their mothering experiences. It seems that the process of mothering is an opportunity to uncover our histories and futures, and often to heal; to evolve.

Emily interviewed many mothers, and then painted their portraits onto used bed linens, which she says are rich with the history of the people who slept on them. She hangs the portrait-sheets from laundry lines, and broadcasts the voices of the mothers she interviewed into the space, which is at once haunting, serene, challenging and comfortable.

This work has a profound impact on the people who view it. We are so often wrapped up in fear; in trying to strike out from our heritage to forge new paths, or (as parents) to avert danger for our children, that we seldom take opportunity to consider our history, and legacies. Doing this means working consciously toward a brave and strong future for our civilization, and the MAMA Project helps this conscious evolution to occur.

Photos taken by the public at various MAMA Project installations, outside: http://www.flickr.com/groups/mamaproject/ For more photos, please see the MAMA Project blog on this website.

Space: The installation is very flexible. The ideal is that sheets are exposed to daylight (though not direct sunlight for extended periods of time, as they will fade and deteriorate), and have some air movement. Quiet fans are a good way to achieve this. The sheets vary in size, can be partially overlapped or spread out, and can have painted text between them or not. Thus the length of the total 34 sheets will vary from about 180 to 300 linear feet of clotheslines (which could be strung across the installation space in various angles and configurations).

Although the installation is flexible, it is important that viewers are able to see the sheets from a distance as well as up close, since they are slightly larger than life-size, and sometimes a bit emotionally overwhelming.

About the Artist: I am a multimedia visual and literary artist living on Bowen Island, in Canada.

I studied mostly painting, printmaking, and mixed-media sculpture in the Netherlands and at ECUAD in Vancouver, Canada, but my creativity spills into whichever medium suits the moment. My work has been described as messy, rough, honest, and emotional. It tends toward installation, performance, and books, and is often political, or community-centred.

The intention of my work is never simply to express something personal, but to express in such a way that viewers can read their own stories into the work; experience their own revelations, and walk away with their own unique experiences. I believe that art exists in the individual experiences that happen between one person's creative expression and another's creative interpretation.

I am interested in the impressions that past experience and heredity leave on us and on our existence as earth-dwelling social animals. I am greatly influenced by emotional expressionism, human development and the natural sciences. I find inspiration and joy in growing and wildcrafting medicinal plants and in the rural lifestyle that I and my family lead. I am a mother and unschooler of two children, and an avid singer of traditional ballads.

I am always looking for new opportunities to exhibit the MAMA Project! To receive a gallery proposal (.pdf or hardcopy), please contact Emily van Lidth de Jeude.