Mewe Creative Director
Helen set up Mewe together with Mo Brown in February 2012. She works to further the work of the organisation and to ensure that it continues to develop and thrive.
Monica Sjoo wrote in Towards a Revolutionary Feminist Art (1972):
In fact it was after giving birth to a child that I started to develop a ‘feminist conciousness’ because I could not reconcile this experience of extreme strength, dignity and violence with the feebleness, weakness, and lack of creativity which is expected of women in society. In fact, to give birth is an ‘unfeminine’ act, the way femininity is defined in our society.
Giving birth to my first child was the most profound experience of my life. My journey into motherhood through being pregnant, giving birth and caring for my son’s has changed my identity my place in the world, how I feel, and how I make work.
Motherhood is an inspiration a motivation, it is my life’s work .I have responded to changes in my identity and of those around me. I have acquired knowledge through the changes of my body and in making another body. I make art work work about the deep, overwhelming and complex emotional challenges that being a parent brings.
I continue to question my place in the world as a mother and how this effects others that I meet, befriend and work with, I have found motherhood to be joyous but also painful, traumatic, difficult and I am always reaching to find ways to represent “alternative” viewpoints and representations of mothering.
Making art work between the inter-ruptions of mothering is especially challenging but has also opened up new possibilities for my practice, where my children in many instances have become my collaborators. I gaze at them as they sleep, I marvel at the marks that they make, I consider how me and them relate to each other and at the parameters of arts practice, mothering and how the two intersect.
I love exploring ideas of the body, its visceral physical qualities, its relationship to drawing and painting. We are born and we make marks through our first breath, through our first excrement from the saliva of our mouths enclosing around our mothers breasts.
My work is rigorously researched and produced from a feminist and psychoanalytic theoretical perspective. I am interested in Bracha Ettingers theories of the matrixial and the relationship between arts practice and therapeutic practice. I am a member of Mamsie and have had a series of drawings published in Studies in the Maternal, a peer reviewed international online magazine based at Birkbeck University in London. I am also working towards a PHD proposal to further my research into motherhood as experience and motherhood as institution through drawing.
Helen Sargeant (b 1971 London) is an artist, academic and mother of two children (Sydney aged 11 and Naoise aged 4). Helen works from her home in Todmorden and at the Linden Art Studio Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. She is an interdisciplinary artist working across painting, drawing, animation, video, performance and installation and has exhibited widely within the UK and Europe. Helen has taught and lectured Fine Art within Higher Education, most recently for the BA Visual Arts Programme at The University of Salford.