September 21, 2020

Did you know your mother was black?

Natasha Phoenix, 45

The Original Mother is a powerful freestanding sculpture of a black mother. Her concerned gaze as she watches us, her children, take our first adventurous steps, out into the dangerous world beyond. I wanted to sculpt the true aspects of motherhood. The pride and the fear. I feel it’s so important to represent all women in sculpture, particularly in the current climate of fear and change, a black woman. Her face shows the pleasure and torment of being a black mother in today’s world. The everyday anxiety that something will happen to our children because of the colour of their skin. Though her face is fearful she is clearly strong, powerful, capable and full of love. I hope to invoke a feeling of familiarity, care and caution in the viewer. She is our mother, she loves us more than any other. By saying ‘be careful my child’ she makes us feel a sense of belonging and that familial bond. We are cautious out there, we must protect her heart. We long to make her proud. She represents the mitochondrial mother to us all. There is no place for racism when we know our original mother is black.

The Original Mother, 2020Clay, bronze with patina on copper and wooden plinth31 cm by 38cm by 14.5cm