Un-mothering is an ongoing project that explores family history, female lineage, and separation.


It questions the patriarchal expectations of women as mothers and nurturers that influences their rights to their own bodies and desires.


Inspired by the French philosopher, Anne Dufourmantelle’s work and by my own psychotherapy (focused on the mother-child relationship), I use found photos that are 

reminiscent of my family archive lost during the Iranian revolution and the following war. I draw on family narratives, and the vernacular language that emerges through talk therapy to give a second life to the photos by writing one key phrase repeatedly on the photographed subjects. The phrases are written in my mother tongue Farsi. 

The repetition evokes what Dufourmantelle refers to as an oath or a spell unconsciously given to the child by the mother.

I emphasize the power of the spoken word in an attempt to reimagine this bond and break the old patterns. The subjects in the photographs carry the texts like a vessel. Through this work, I aim to recreate a family archive aimed at healing, in commemoration and recognition of the living female bodies and the female bodies that came before me. 

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© 2020 Maral Bolouri