Tour of Mixed Feelings Exhibition

On September 3, at 13:00 Baku time Femiskop organizes an online tour of Mixed Feelings exhibition of Madina Zholdybekova’s works curated by Dildə Ramazan on Instagram live.

The text by Dilda Ramazan below describes the exhibition as following:

“There is no greater happiness for a woman than motherhood” — we are told this from the earliest years. Until we become conscious people capable of critical thinking, we are influenced by a large number of such dubious postulates. This is far from surprising, because, in the patriarchal society in which we live, a woman does not belong to herself, but serves entirely others’ interests. The state and the nation need a fertile woman in order to improve demographic indicators; the family’s prime interest is to marry her off without losing face; the man needs her to continue his family; to the neighbors, taxi drivers, and all sorts of other curious people a woman must prove her “normality” by accomplishing “the purpose laid down by nature”. In other words, in Kazakhstan, a woman practically does not have a subjectivity, but is equated to her childbearing function: in the eyes of society she is only a uterus obliged to ceaselessly give birth.

This aggressive reproductive propaganda follows us everywhere. It is also difficult to resist it because often the myth of motherhood as the only meaning of a woman’s life is supported by women themselves. As a result, a large number of Kazakhstani women today decide to become mothers un- der social pressure while not being fully ready for such an important step.

Madina Zholdybekova’s solo show Mixed Feelings was born out of the artist’s desire to talk openly and honestly about her own experience of motherhood, avoiding excessive embellishment and romanticization. The works made in the techniques of illustration, weaving, installation, and video demonstrate the reverse side of motherhood — all that women are used to silence. There is a reflection of mothers’ fears, numerous self-doubts, worries provoked by the tactless intervention of others, and, first and foremost, constant and exhausting invisible work.

In the end, and contrary to popular opinion, motherhood turns out to be not pure unconditional happiness, but a zone of complex mixed feelings, among which love is not always the strongest one.