Sunday, December 8, 2013

Divided hearts

Currently on in Sydney is an exhibition that the artists say has taken its name from my book.

When they contacted me to ask if they could name their exhibition "The Divided Heart", I had to move beyond a fleeting sense of possessiveness and remind myself that before the book was printed, it was my publisher who said: "I've found the name of this book; I think it's "A Divided Heart".

I always feel slightly embarrassed that the title wasn't my idea, because it's clearly so right. My only suggestion was the shift from 'A' to 'The'!

It is not a phrase I have any ownership over. It does nothing more than describe the experience that so many mothers instinctively relate to.

So much that is written about being a mother and an artist uses exactly the same, if not very similar, words. And when my book is reviewed, this is the phrase that most often gets quoted as resonating with the reader:

“A divided heart; a split self; the sense that to succeed at one means to fail at the other.”

These artists generously asked my permission to use some of those words, but really it's just that, in terms of using them as a title for the a creative response to the experience of being artist and mother, my book just got in first. The feeling is universal.

"The Divided Heart" is a group exhibition about navigating a balance between creativity and motherhood. It is on now at Gaffa Gallery in Sydney.