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April 28, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
EXHIBITION SPACE AT ARTS NETWORK OTTAWA
This body of work from Ottawa-based mother-artist Laura Ajayi has developed through her occupation of gendered domestic space and the confluence of mothering practice with art production. Daily domestic tasks – at once urgent, tedious, divine – threaten to swallow up the artist identity. And yet, in this overwhelm there is fertility and a potential for creative production. Ajayi’s work exploits this potential through an integration of ritualized domestic life and art-making. The tangible traces of feminized labour that litter her carpet (dryer sheets, lint, bits of thread, stray clothing) fuel her studio practice, and the laborious nature of her creative work acts as a metaphor for the interminable work of keeping house.
Using traditional drawing media, domestic artifacts and digital photography, this body of work functions primarily as self-portraiture. It also acts as a personification of household labour, as domesticity calling out to be heard, cherished, cleansed, sexed. The repetitious and mundane tasks of family life carry within them a shocking intimacy and sensuality.
Using the language of traditional women’s work and of feminist visual culture, Ajayi interrogates the intersections of the erotically-charged and the unremarkable. She is compelled by the complexity of mothering relationships, the mother-as-child, and the maternal as abject – at once cherished and repellent. Her practice disrupts the idealized maternal, considering mothering as an act of repeated breakage, separation, healing, and repair.