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Talk | Tara McDowell

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Event description

Join Tara McDowell, Associate Professor and Director of Curatorial Practice at Monash University, Melbourne, for a talk exploring mothering and contemporary art.

If the canon of Western art history until just a few decades ago included few women artists, it counted even fewer mother artists. Long a taboo subject, if not a career-ender, in recent years a profound cultural shift around motherhood has occurred, such that now many contemporary artists—as well as writers, poets, filmmakers, and other creative practitioners—are making mothering both the subject and condition of their work. 

McDowell’s talk will examine the rich, if fraught, terrain of mothering and art, mapping it through artistic practices marked by difference, while nonetheless coaxing an increasingly vital subject into view. McDowell will trace an expanded conception of mothering in art: from the bodily and psychic transformations of becoming a mother—whether through physically giving birth or otherwise—to a collective mothering in solidarity with non-biological mothering and surrogacy, with reproductive and domestic labour, and with queer mothering and Indigenous matriarchies.

This talk will be followed by a close reading of D Harding and Kate Harding’s exhibition Through a lens of visitation, first presented at Monash University Museum of Art in 2021. 

McDowell's talk will take place after a morning of artist talks by finalists in the churchie emerging art prize 2023, facilitated by guest curator Sebastian Henry-Jones. Find out more about this event here

COVID-19 Advice

The IMA strongly encourages mask-wearing onsite in the galleries and for events to keep our community safe. If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or are feeling unwell, please stay home. ⁠


We are committed to making the IMA accessible to people of all abilities, their families, and carers, as well as visitors of different ages and different backgrounds.

The gallery entrance is on the ground floor of the Judith Wright Arts Centre, on Berwick Street. There is wheelchair access and an accessible toilet with baby changing facilities also located on the ground floor, and we welcome guide and support dogs.

To find out more, contact us at, call (07) 3252 5750, or ask our friendly staff on-site. You can also read our access information for visitors here: Word Doc or PDF.

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