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© 2023 By Henry Cooper. Proudly created with Wix.com

Mothers and Others

Mothers and Others investigates representations of women in African oral traditions.

This multi-sensory, interactive installation explores the power of proverbs by juxtaposing negative and positive depictions of women in cultural truisms. These adages overwhelmingly portray women as helpless imbeciles, except for when the sayings espouse women’s reproductive potential as mothers. Through three metaphorical structures, Mothers and Others draws the audience’s attention to the negative and positive proverbs, as well as, to the proverbs we have yet to imagine. In one structure, handmade iron cowbells representing the objectification of women and bearing examples of negative proverbs hang from a giant stool. Underneath, a small alter holds the few positive proverbs about women related almost exclusively to motherhood surrounded by extinguished candles. The third – a blank board – invites the audience to contribute their own proverbs. The artist encourages the audience to interact with each piece and share their reactions and ideas.

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