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This article was published 6/5/2014 (1995 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A local group is doing its best to make sure moms in Winnipeg continue to embrace their artistic sides.
MAWA (Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art) presents Winter Mothering, the fourth annual exhibition by its Artist Mothers Group. Winter Mothering opened on May 2 at MAWA (611 Main St.) and runs until May 24.
Artist Mothers Group member Melanie Dennis Unrau, a Wolseley resident, said the group started in 2010 after a screening of the documentary film Who Does She Think She Is?
"It’s about women who combine the roles of artist and mother and the challenges of maintaining both of those identities," Unrau said.
"This group is a drop-in group, sort of a support group for artists (who are moms). We meet once a month. We start every meeting with showing what we’ve been working on and getting constructive feedback from one another, and then we have some kind of facilitated art making."
Winter Mothering features pieces by 17 artists/moms. Unrau, whose predominant artistic pursuit is poetry, has a 10-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son. She said making art as a mother is harder than she even expected it to be.
"You think ‘I’m going to be home, I’ll have all this time’," Unrau said. "But the reality is children need a lot of care, and especially when they were young, I felt so immersed in the experience of taking care of them that I didn’t have a lot of creative energy left to work on my art practice."
Unrau said the many duties of a mother not only cut into the time necessary to make art, but also the inspiration to create it.
"I had to intentionally make time for myself. It’s not only the time to sit down and make something but it’s also the space in your mind, the creative energy," Unrau said. "I had to make time to go for walks and think about my ideas, do the self-care that comes first so you have something to give creatively."
Sandra Brown, a Norwood resident and mother of two, has participated in MAWA’s Artist Mothers Group since its inception. Her contribution to Winter Mothering is three sculptures of hockey moms made out of hockey sticks and tape, "a symbol of mothers who help their kids pursue their passion."
"We like to make work on the theme of mothering," Brown said. "We feel it’s something that’s invisible in our culture. There’s a misunderstanding of how much work it is. It’s all-consuming.
"Our society doesn’t accommodate mothers and family living. In terms of how the work day is structured, it’s not flexible for families and for mothers. It’s really hard to juggle family and work. That’s why I think making art about mothering is really important, to try to move our culture forward."
The Artist Mothers Group meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month at MAWA. All artists who are mothers are welcome to attend.
Community journalist — The Times
Jared Story is the community journalist for The Times. Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7206