May 15, 2017


By Dr RuchikaWason Singh

In the summer of 2016, I conceived the idea of creating a platform for mother artists in Asia.  I realised that there was a need to document, map and make visible the work done by women, who had made the choices of both motherhood and art practice in their lives. The need for such a platform emerged from my own experiences as a mother and an artist. The birth of my daughter in 2002; had immediately brought me to make a shift in my choices and prioritisation of time and energy. Motherhood brought along a range of intimate experiences between my daughter and me.  Yet it also put forth,the challenges in continuing to be creatively active, making my work visible and my mobility as an artist. I continued to work in my make-shift studio at home, the location of which shifted to anywhere, where my daughter was comfortable to be in at a point of time. My joyful moments of motherhood, often lingered with a feeling of a question mark, upon my own existence as a ‘practicing’ artist. I continued to tell myself, that amidst the maternal responsibilities, the artist within me existed. I realised that this need ‘to exist’ as a mother artist,was not just my own and it became my driving force, to initiate this research project. To map many others, who have continued to play the dual role, but may not necessarily have found visibility for their art.

Motherhood also impacted my creativity thematically and my project Transit Spaces (2007) grew out of it. During my research I also realised, that though much focus had been given on the experiences of the maternal and its impact on art practice outside of Asia; there was a lacuna within this sphere in Asia, both within art practice as well as within the domain of the art historical discourse.

With focus on mapping, making space for voicing the maternal as an experience for the mother artist in her art and the inclusivity of the countries outside of India but within Asia, I have initiated A.M.M.A.A. — The Archive for Mapping Mother Artists in Asia. Currently there are 21 mother artists from ten countries in the online archive. The Mother Artists Pages have mapped Kavita Nayar, Lalhming Mawii Amoii, Nimmy Melvin, NupurKundu,RituKamath, RuchikaWason Singh and RupaChordia- Samdaria (India);  Airi Suzuki , ChinenArisa, Miharu Hatori and Sai Yuhki (Japan); Ole Scovill (Laos); Tan Ru Yi (Malaysia); Tazeen Qayyum (Pakistan); Christina Taniguchi (Philippines); Jeon Gi -Ok (South Korea);  Leyla Varlik Senturk (Turkey) and Nguyen Mai Huong (Vietnam).

With focus on inclusivity, there is also a section called Friends of A.M.M.A.A , which includes mother artists who have Asian roots or are of non-Asian origin, but have spent considerable years of their life in Asia , which has also impacted their life and art practice. These include Neermala Luckinarayan and Omeshwaree Bauhadoor (Mauritius) and PattyHudak (Japan/USA). In Focus- Conversations has been created as a niche for in-depth documentation on the life and work on a mother artist, who has spent a major part of her life, balancing her artistic and maternal choices. Miharu Hatori (born in 1947, Japan) has been featured in this section.

Continuing with the online mappings on the archive/website, A.M.M.A.A. shall branch out into other possibilities, in order to give visibility to the mother artists, their maternal experiences and its reflection in their art. Online curated Exhibitions, publications and collaborations are the models of dissemination for A.M.M.A.A. for the future. Currently The A.M.M.A.A. Artist Residency is a model of activity at work, for the year 2017. The A.M.M.A.A. Artist Residency shall be an on-site residency, based on the need for short-term mobility of mother artists, keeping in mind their constraints of time. The one-week long artist residency, shall be intended to provide time and space to reminisce upon maternal experiences or build upon thoughts for new works . A maximum of two mother artists shall participate in the residency at a time. More news on the same shall follow in due course.

I am hopeful, that A.M.M.A.A. shall serve as a space to make and claim, for and by mother artists in Asian countries and those of Asian origin living outside of Asia; to bring forth and acknowledged the maternal and the artistic in their lives.


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