Maternochronics: Maternal Exhaustion in the Time of Pandemic


Maternochronics: Maternal Exhaustion in the Time of Pandemic


Emily Zarse



Curatorial Statement

Maternochronics: noun  1. genre defined by the chronic, durational fatigue of mothering/caregiving
 2. framework that explores an alternate way of experiencing time through the lens of mothering 

 This Exhibition asks the question: What does maternal exhaustion look/feel like?as experienced during the ongoing pandemic march 2020-2021. The above term— maternochronics —is offered in an attempt to create space for a conversation about maternal time and the accumulation of stress. Through submissions to this exhibition, artists are welcomed to participate in an active dialogue, encouraged to redefine and contribute to the thinking and naming. Submission is open to all self identifying women and non-binary artists who are mothers/lifelong carers based anywhere in the world. 
The language of maternal time during the pandemic has been noticeably defined in one context— daily news feeds are filled with headlines about maternal burnout and the untenable amount of stress placed on mothers during the pandemic. What would a creative/artistic response to these headlines look like? What do artist mothers and caregivers have to say about their own embodied experience of burnout in this time of pandemic? What weight would a collection of creative responses add to the conversation of “how can we better support caregivers?” A Note on Exhibition Layout: The works in this exhibition are presented in the chronological order in which they were submitted to the call. Artists retain all rights to works. Submission Prompts: What does maternal exhaustion look/feel like? as experienced during the ongoing pandemic march 2020-2021. What is depletion, burnout, being on the brink, untenable time, fatigue threshold?  Do mothers/caregivers experience time in a new way because of the pandemic? How have mothers/caregivers marked time in the pandemic? What does this new experience of time look like, feel like in the body? Does it highlight/amplify previously existing structures of oppression and inequality? What does the accumulation of stresses (systemic racism, heteronormativity, ableism, poverty) look like? Does it provide an opening to shift/tear down/ re-envision something different? What is the antidote to burnout? What does nourishment/care look like?


May 2021 - December 2021



maternochronics, “Maternochronics: Maternal Exhaustion in the Time of Pandemic,” Artist Parent Index , accessed July 15, 2024,

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