Every working mother knows the exhausting stress of children and career, which can be both life-affirming and soul-sucking at the same time. In a recent interview with the German newspaper Tagesspiegel, artist Marina Abramovic noted that she believed motherhood to be the death of creative life.
The interview was translated by the website ArtsNet.com and quotes Abramovic as stating:
I had three abortions because I was certain that it would be a disaster for my work. One only has limited energy in the body, and I would have had to divide it. In my opinion, that’s the reason why women aren’t as successful as men in the art world. There’s plenty of talented women. Why do men take over the important positions? It’s simple. Love, family, children—a woman doesn’t want to sacrifice all of that.
Abramovic’s comments aren’t sitting well with other artists. Hein Koh, a Brooklyn-based artist and mother of twins, posted a photo of herself tandem breastfeeding her infants while working on her Instagram and Facebook page. In the post, she writes that her children have given her work a new and interesting layer.
I’m also not saying that artist parents are better artists than non-parent artists, or that choosing not to be a parent will deny you access to these learning experiences. What I am saying is that parenting is like any other challenge in life—the biggest fucking challenge in my own life thus far—and if you embrace it and figure out creative solutions, you can emerge a better person.
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#tbt 5/19/15 when my #twins were 5 weeks old and despite the sleep deprivation and frequent (every 2-3 hours, 24-7, 45 min at a time) #breastfeeding, I was still getting shit done. #MarinaAbramovic thinks children hold women back in the art world, but as @dubz19 put so aptly, "FUKKK THAT". All Marina knows is her own experience, and it may be true for her, but that is not everyone's experience nor truth. Becoming a #mom (of twins no less) has personally helped me become a better #artist – I learned to be extremely efficient with my time, prioritize what's important and let go of the rest, and #multitask like a champ. I learned to function (even if barely) on very little sleep, and out of the chaos, insanity and even torture at times, a flood of new emotions entered into my work, becoming more interesting & layered as a result. I'm also not saying that artist parents are better artists than non-parent artists, or that choosing not to be a parent will deny you access to these learning experiences. What I am saying is that parenting is like any other challenge in life – the biggest fucking challenge in my own life thus far – and if you embrace it and figure out creative solutions, you can emerge a better person. It's important to think about the ways in which these challenges can help you move forward, rather than hold you back. #artistmom #tandembreastfeeding #multitasking #heinkoh #greenpoint #brooklyn #nyc
On Facebook, the photo has over 4,000 likes and has been shared over 1,000 times, with other moms chiming in to declare Koh a “Momboss” and a “Shero.”
Koh concludes her post, “It’s important to think about the ways in which these challenges can help you move forward, rather than hold you back.”
Hey, if you can manage to breastfeed twins while getting any work done, then you’re already mastered more creative solutions than the rest of us.