Arts Review: Girls and Their Mothers


Hillhead Library, 8 April – 22 May

Hillhead Library is currently showcasing a photography exhibition called ‘Girls and Their Mothers’, which will run until the 22nd of May. The subjects of the photos are mixed race girls with, you guessed it, their mothers. The idea behind the pics is that multiracial families are ‘visually underrepresented’ in Scotland, and by taking these photographs the artist is displaying a relatively unfamiliar family dynamic. The exhibit claims to question social perceptions, presumably the prejudgements we make, and questions many have when seeing a mixed race family.

Seeing the exhibit feels fuzzy. It’s like the feeling you get when it’s Baltic and you’ve just demolished a steak bake. It’s nice. That’s not a bad thing – it’s not overdone, vomit-inducing ‘Me and mummy have friendship bracelets’ kind of too nice. The pictures feel genuine, probably because it’s real mothers and daughters.  I might be missing some huge artistic epiphany, but to me it felt sweet, the photographic equivalent of kitten videos. It makes you miss your mum, even if, like me, you had just seen her half an hour before.

It comes from a good place, even if it did ever so slightly remind me of those naff pictures that really put-together families always have hanging in their hall, above the ‘You Call It Chaos, We Call It FAMILY’ signs and the potpourri. Do I think it’s going to spark a social revolution in how multiracial families are viewed? Probably not, but as series of pictures of precious mixed race girls is never going to be unwelcome. Also, visiting this exhibition can ease your guilty conscience because you’re actually going to a library (even if you don’t crack a book, learning by osmosis could totally happen), while soothing your soul with the power of art.

If you like your mum, then you might like this. And there are worse things to do than spend ten minutes looking at pictures of parental love to remind you that it is possible for people to love each other as much as I love steak bakes.

[Louise Wylie –@QmunicateIsBae]

Image: ‘Josephine and Angelina’ © Kim Simpson

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