Responding to the Call 2020
Autoethnographic Drawing
Pencil Drawing

Included in the drawings and text for

Maternal Art Magazine Issue 1 ‘Stay at Home’ June 2020

https://maternalart.com/issue-one

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‘Responding to the Call’ 2020 arose from the intensity of the situation of caring for three children 24/7 for weeks at a time without a break at the start of the Covid 19 Lockdown 2020. Home-schooling the three of them at three different stages whilst being cook, cleaner, art technician, PE teacher, counsellor, entertainer, washerwoman, bill-payer, administrator, IT support, gardener and handyman whilst still trying to study myself was absolutely exhausting. I wanted to quantify this experience that was so easily lost at the end of each day and I became very aware of the number of times I was responding to the call of my children. I kept a diary writing down the name they called me ‘Mummy’, ‘Mama’ or ‘Mother’ to physicalise the experience and discovered that it was approximately 50 times a day that they would ask me for something. Whilst the quantity of calls became irrelevant the repetition of the word remained and I began a drawing in which I wanted to create a self-portrait of my head with eyes as negative spaces. The drawing developed by using a range of different pencil grades from 2H to 6B and I began to vary the scale of the words as I drew. What emerged was a mask-like image with hollowed out eyes that frayed at the edges suggesting the kind of exasperation and relentlessness of a mother constantly ‘responding to the call’.