On Art And Motherhood: The Construction Of Perfection And Its Feminist Subversion

24 Jun 2024

Regular hours

Mon, 24 Jun
18:30 – 20:30

Timezone: Europe/London

Cost of entry

Tickets are sold on a donation basis, as we want EVERYONE to be able to access this knowledge. Our classes are also recorded, and each ticket offers access to the live class, as well as 7 days worth of access to the recording.

Save Event: On Art And Motherhood: The Construction Of Perfection And Its Feminist Subversion

I've seen this

People who have saved this event:



Hosted by: The Feminist Lecture Program

Our classes take place via zoom on Monday evenings, with a different topic and lecturer each week, hosted by our founder Luisa-Maria MacCormack. A Zoom link will be sent to ticketholders from Eventbrite or Outsavvy (depending where their ticket was bought) before the lecture begins.

The Feminist Lecture Program welcomes guest lecturer Hettie Judah to explore the discrepancy between the prominent figures of mothers depicted in art through history and the absence of visibilty and experiences of actual artist mothers.



From the selfless Virgin Mary, to the uncomplaining 'Angel in the House' through to the flawless mother-as-consumer promoted by advertisers in the 20th century, representations of motherhood have rarely been based on first-hand experience. On Art and Motherhood: the construction of perfection and its feminist subversion' looks at how ideals of motherhood have been promoted through visual culture and explores how artist mothers have gone about dismantling these myths. How does it change things if the artist herself is a mother? What other stories emerge?

This lecture addresses the blind spot in art history, asserting the artist mother as an important – if rarely visible – cultural figure. Just as the currently touring exhibition curated by Hettie, ‘Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood’ commissioned by Hayward Gallery Touring exhibitions, this lecture explores the lived experience of motherhood, presenting a complex and varied image with relation to contemporary concerns about gender, politics, caregiving and reproductive rights.


Hettie Judah is chief art critic on the British daily paper The i, a regular contributor to The Guardian’s arts pages, and a columnist for Apollo magazine. She writes for Frieze, Art Quarterly, Art Monthly, ArtReview and other publications with 'art' in the title, and is a contributing editor to The Plant magazine. Following publication of her 2020 study on the impact of motherhood on artists’ careers, in 2021 she worked with a group of artists to draw up the manifesto How Not To Exclude Artist Parents, now available in 15 languages. She regularly talks about art and with artists for colleges, as well as museum and gallery events. A supporter of Arts Emergency she has mentored artists and students through a variety of different schemes. As a broadcaster she can be heard (and sometimes seen) on programmes including BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and Art That Made Us. Recent books include How Not To Exclude Artist Mothers (and other parents) (Lund Humphries, 2022) and Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones (John Murray, London, 2022/ Penguin, NY, 2023).

Hettie is curator of the Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood which will open at the Arnolfini in Bristol on 9 March 2024. Her book of the same title will be published globally by Thames & Hudson in July 2024.

In 2022, together with Jo Harrison, Hettie co-founded the Art Working Parents Alliance - a supportive network and campaigning group for curators, academics, gallerists, technicians, educators and others working in the arts.

INSTAGRAM: @hettiejudah


Banner image credit: Tala Madani ‘Shit Moms’


Monday 20th May
Lucy Brownson (she/her) and Matilde Manicardi (she/her)
Building It Ourselves, Building It Together: A History of Queer and Feminist Community-Building Through Housing Activism

Monday 27th Mat
Jasmine Reimer (she/her)
Feminist Monsters: Transformation and the New Weird Divine 

Monday 3rd June
Nicola Hill (she/her)
Visions, Veils And Virgins: A Short History of Epilepsy Through the Lives of Extraordinary Women

Monday 10th June
Kate Robinson (she/her)
An Introduction to Textiles as a Feminist Discourse

Monday 17th June
Joanna Sperryn-Jones (she/her)
Breaking As Making: Women Artists Employing Breaking, Violence and Destruction

Monday 24th June
Hettie Judah (she/her)
On Art And Motherhood: The Construction of Perfection and its Feminist Subversion

Monday 1st July
Luisa-Maria MacCormack (she/her)
Ana Mendieta: Soil, Dirt and the Body as Art

Monday 8th July
Janine Francois (she/her/they/them)
Oppositional Gaze: Black Feminist Photography as Feminist Resistance

Stay tuned in to be the first to hear about our Autumn term!


Hettie Judah


Have you been to this event? Share your insights and give it a review below.