The Mother whose Name we Bear, 2023

5 minutes, 39 seconds
Video animation

Raphael Vella explores themes of motherhood, politics and nationhood in drawings, archival films and stop motion techniques in this video. Particularly interested in the way contemporary lives are controlled by institutions and other disciplinary measures, the artist presents, side by side, the underrepresentation of mothers in political life and the overrepresentation of mothers in political rhetoric. While a recent study conducted at the University of Gothenburg concluded that the political engagement of women decreases substantially during pregnancy and the first years of their children’s lives, the maternal metaphor in the context of politics, nationalism and war is widespread. Hence, while gender gaps related to interest in political affairs increase as a result of women’s increased engagement in childcare, the term “motherland” evokes a sense of emotional attachment to one’s country as caregiver and is used in propaganda to rally popular support in times of war.

Installation views: As seen in Mater, an exhibition curated by Pilar Cruz, Alexia Medici and Margerita Pule’ at the National Archives, Rabat, Malta (2024)

  • March 16, 2024