Mummy dearest

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THE complexity of the mother/child relationship is a theme photographer Toni Wilkinson has recorded since her children were born.

With a daughter now 20 and a 12-year-old son that’s a lot of images.

But it’s the past five years that form her latest exhibition Uncertain Surrenders.

The images were part of a PhD with a very post-Freudian slant of looking for beauty and menace in the maternal bond.

Talking to the Voice via phone as she dashed to her day job at Curtin university, Dr Wilkinson sounded anything but menacing.

“When I take pictures I’m trying to trap that moment, which I know won’t last.

“[But] you can’t hold onto them, you have to let them go.”

Mothers are often stereotyped as passive and one-dimensional, which is at odds with how Wilkinson feels about her children and sees other mums.

“Maternal passion is fierce. I’m passionate about my children, but I’m not always benevolent.”

She’s keen to record the test of her relationship with her son as he enters puberty, but fears it won’t happen.

“He’s got to the point now where he says ‘don’t photograph me’.”

The Bassendean local has a stellar career behind her with works in major galleries.

She’s off to Paris in September after being one of just two Australian photographers selected for the prestigious Photoquai 2013.

Life-sized photos of Wilkinson’s children and their friends will be on display under the Eiffel Tower.

But before wowing the crowds strolling the Seine river, Wilkinson joins fellow photographers Svetlana Bailey and Juhani Koivumaki in an exhibition at the Perth Centre for Photography in Northbridge.

Sin, a video piece about the desire for the forbidden, is Finnish-based artist Koivumaki’s first showing in WA.

In Fog, Russian-born Bailey’s ethereal collection of photos looks at the ambivalence between belonging and being separate.

You can catch them at PCP, 100 Aberdeen Street, Northbridge, June 14 to July 14. Entry free.

by JENNY D’ANGER

 

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