I happened upon some graffiti of a mother holding a child in a doorway near Hoxton Square. The image of a mother and child can be very powerful and can also hold a lot of - sometimes conflicting – emotions. It was hidden down a side street, but hard to miss due to its size.
One of earliest human experiences, as well as relationships, is most often of our mothers. This bond often influences us for the rest of our lives. The mother and child bond is often idealised, but can also be fraught with difficulties.
Childbirth is also heavily influenced by social mores of a time and place. What struck me about this particular image was that it hinted at something a bit risqué.
A mother standing in a doorway, possibly in an alleyway – what was the story? Was she hiding from something, or someone? Was the child born out of wedlock, in a time when this was less acceptable? Or perhaps she was just pausing for a moment, sheltering from the elements?
The image was a simple one, but holds a powerful story - or stories - for the viewer. It was much more powerful in black and white rather than colour.
I was also caught by the paradox of where the graffiti was (side street) and its size (much larger than the average human). It did make me wonder whether this was indicative of how society views motherhood. On one hand, humanity’s need to sanitise and idealise motherhood; and on the other the undercurrent of how it really is.
Whatever is happening around the mother and child, he underlying tone of the image is one of nurturing and protection.
The above image is available to buy as a print.