Js studio 220
By Joni Sercombe

Perth, Australia

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This work featured in my 2017 solo show, "Not Going Anywhere". The following excerpt is from the program...

“When my son was born I imagined I would pop him in a sling and carry on with my life, making art, using my hands, being active and capable. But he hated the sling and I found myself carrying him around day and night. Tethered by his need, I lost the use of my arms for almost anything else. The starting point for this work was the sheer physicality of this encounter. “- Joni Sercombe, 2017.

Any significant life transition coincides with a natural grieving process for the former self. For the parent, this is less about the relationship with the child, than it is the relationship with oneself and the world at large. The work moves beyond the opposing tropes of the blissful, contented mother on one hand or the woman immobilised by post-natal depression on the other, to explore a range of more nuanced experiences of caregivers in navigating their identities.

At a broader level, this work explores the emotional relationship we have with difficult transitions. It examines ambiguous feelings which are difficult to wrangle; dark things which are painful but which we also hold close with a familiar kind of fondness. The work gives physical form to these uneasy feelings, which are represented as both form and void, presence and absence.


portrait, self-portrait, oil, board