The bond between a mother and their child is sacred, intertwining within the psychology and emotions of both sides while often transcending our full understanding. The psychological, spiritual and emotional impact of a child and mother being forcefully separated is always a particularly powerful moment.
It is this particular impact that local artist Debbie Caruana Dingli is exploring through Nothing Really Matters, which were drawn from unanswered questions the artist posed to fictional mothers whose children have been convicted of a crime and imprisoned.
Through Caruana Dingli’s personal reflection and muses, she explores the impact of loss, shame, confusion, solitude and the whole sphere of emotions and reactions experienced on an emotional, spiritual and psychological level by those being left behind.
The exhibition offers snippets into the emotional state of the mothers of convicted criminals, inspired through a passing comment in a local newspaper on 20th May 2019: “Mr *** looked very emotional, especially when his mother, who was present in the jam-packed hall, could not hold back tears”.
Though the mothers captured in this exhibition are fictional and largely driven by reflection rather than research, the life-shattering moments of anonymous mothers in these situations in real life moved Caruana Dingli into creating the paintings.
In this, through a twist of fate, it is the mothers, an often overlooked protagonist and secondary victim to her child’s crimes, that is being interrogated and cross-examined rather than the criminal.
As the title implies, the exhibition is symbolic of the crisis and uncertainty that follows once something so emotional and spiritual intertwines with our physical lives is ruptured – when the sacred bond of a mother and her child is left perverted.
Nothing Really Matters is on display in Space A at Spazju Kreattiv (Valletta) till 30th May 2021. Anyone can visit for free during opening hours Tuesday-Friday (10am to 6.30pm) and Saturdays (10am to 1.30pm).
The exhibition is also accompanied by a catalogue and introductory essay by curator Giulia Privitelli to further capture the raw emotion and rift left behind in the mothers during such situations.
Featured Image credit: Spazju Kreattiv, Elisa von Brockdorff
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