By Claudia Pharès
Medium & Materials: Type - C Print
Measurements: 40 x 35 cm
Claudia Pharès is French-Canadian-born, of Vietnamese-Egyptian descent. She explores autobiographical events that have challenged her sense of control using visual art and socially-engaged practices. Becoming a mother is such an event. Informed by mother-centered feminism, she seeks to represent invisible mothering labour using photography, installation, performance, and video.
She has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Athenaeum Club Visual Arts Research Award (2019) and the Incinerator Art Gallery Award for Social Change (2018, 2021). She has been a recipient of the City of Yarra Grants (2018, 2020). She holds an MFA (2020) from the Victorian College of the Arts (University of Melbourne) and a BSc in Nursing (2004) from Laurentian University (Canada). Claudia lives in Naarm/Melbourne with her two children, her parrot and also works as a nurse.
Claudia Pharès’ selection of artworks, Motherwork and M-O-T-H-E-R at Play, acknowledges the invisible labour involved in nurturing, caring, protecting and teaching children. It challenges the projected Western paternalistic-type of good motherhood seen as an essentialist experience; defining women as successfully fulfilling their role regardless of their needs, passions, interests, and choices. These creative strategies highlight how mothers’ contributions to society remain underacknowledged as a legitimate type of work. It defies the notion that mothering comes innately but instead consists of complex critical thinking and problem-solving that is influenced by various factors such as demography, socioeconomic resources, geography, and personality. The proposed body of work will contribute to shifting the narrative away from a conservative patriarchal type of motherhood.
Autobiographical events have played a major role in Claudia’s art practice, particularly those that have challenged her self-concept and her sense of control. Having become a mother is such an event. Claudia’s art practice is framed around matricentric (mother-centred) feminism which understands motherhood to be socially and historically constructed, and positions mothering more as a practice than an identity.