INVISIBLE INVALUABLES- Status symbols for the invisible economy of parenting


INVISIBLE INVALUABLES- Status symbols for the invisible economy of parenting


Shira Richter

Curatorial Statement

The National Insurance Institute of Israel defines the job of Mothering as “not working”. The first months of taking care of a baby are called “Birth Vacation”. According to the National Accounting System of the United Nations, this work- the upbringing of children, managing and sustaining a household and family “is of little or no importance”* thus, not counted in the economy of a state. In spite of the mentioned above, in 1975, in Iceland, all the women went on strike in order to challenge the system. The nation came to a standstill. A person requested to note the most important things in his/her life, mentions his/her family, life, and those who are close to him/her, before mentioning computer software, for instance. Raising a human being is the most important and difficult work there is. There is no machine that can do it. Babies who do not receive love and care- die. Our society has invented symbols to show its appreciation: money is a symbol, documents, diplomas, merit awards of all sorts, a car and a mobile phone, prizes and grants…if life is so valuable, why aren’t those working in sustaining and creating it awarded such symbols of value? The photographs shown in the exhibition were taken in the midst of work connected to taking care of small humans. Hundreds and thousands of invisible hours of work, devoid of political, economic or public value. At a certain time of the day, on the millionth time, when the light of the free sun burst in through the bars of the window shutters, something new emerged. The new image exposed a jewel, a crown, an expensive metal, an elaborate delicate garment. Mundane, everyday objects were transformed. These “visions” were a sign- this is the real value of these objects, and this is the real value of this work. Not in the sense of romanticizing this work, but in expressing the essence of value. We workers were afforded, both men and women, status symbols. *Quoted from the film Who's Counting? Marilyn Warring on Sex, Lies, and Global Economics. [Video]. Directed by Terre Nash (1995)






artistshira, “INVISIBLE INVALUABLES- Status symbols for the invisible economy of parenting,” Artist Parent Index , accessed June 17, 2024,

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