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from the artist statement...

On Constructing a Feminist Mother/Daughter Space


Martina Hynan  &  Theo Hynan-Ratcliffe

In 2006, I brought my then 7 year-old daughter with me to the Association of Art Historians’ Annual Conference at Leeds University. The main reason I went was to invite Griselda Pollock to visit the Women’s Studies Centre, National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway).  Our encounter with Griselda was incredibly memorable.  The warmth of her welcome and the kindness she showed my daughter was remarkable.  This meeting and Griselda’s subsequent visit to Ireland had a profound and lasting effect on us both.


Drawing on the symposium theme of ‘looking back to think forward’, we chose two texts, Feminist Interventions in Histories of Art (1988) and Modernity and the Spaces of Femininity (1988) by Griselda Pollock to initiate our recorded conversations that form the central axis of this work.  We also discussed a wide range of issues and theorisations surrounding feminism, art practice, parameters of education and the experience of home education.

As well as creating a shared environment for the sound recording, we each created work in response to our encounter.


Arrested Forms:Martina Hynan

Sewing patterns, paper, drawings, fabric, beeswax


The forms for this installation are made from torn fragments of existing drawings and paintings I have made over the past 19 years, spanning my creative history as an artist and mother. This personal archive of sewing patterns, paper, oil and inks on fabric offer a glimpse into a temporary, arrested matrixial space.

These delicate sculptural forms echo honeycomb wax cells, not as vessels but as transformative shared spaces.  The use of beeswax to make these objects refers to an early iconic maternal figure in Ireland, St. Gobnait, whose symbol is the bee, and who is associated with myths of beekeeping and motherhood.  She is also linked historically with our local area in Co. Clare. 

Our geographical location is significant, and together we have explored readings of the intersectional legacies of figures such as the Kilnaboy Sheela-na-gig, St. Brigid and Gobnait, all of whom are strongly connected with ancient readings of the maternal and are rooted in our local geography and feed our imaginings of the maternal.

It is my ardent hope that we will develop the work begun here.

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