‘here, mothers are’ opens in Amani neighborhood
By Mary Louise Schumacher of the Journal Sentinel
April 3, 2012
Artist Sonja Thomsen and storyteller and former Radio Milwaukee producer Adam Carr have collaborated on a project that brings the unseen images and unheard sounds of neighborhood families out into the open, to a lot at the corner of 24th St. and Locust Ave. and a nearby foreclosed home.
The public art project, made possible with a small grant from the City of Milwaukee, attempts to turn the Amani neighborhood inside out, the artists say. It brings the life that is not always apparent in this part of Milwaukee, where many homes are vacant, into public spaces.
The temporary installation, the result of living room interviews with women and families connected to the Dominican Center for Women, includes photography, audio and text and is meant to be experienced by passersby in cars and on foot. But it promises to be a much more layered and meaningful experience for people who walk around the site, the artists say. There will be many “discoverables” there, they say.
The project, titled “here, mothers are…” explores notions of motherhood particularly. Thomsen and Carr asked mothers about their mothers, grandmothers and children.
“Once we got into their house and we handed them the microphone to kind of just go for it, and we engaged in a conversations instead of an interview, the whole project just exploded in terms of its potential,” said Thomsen.
Those sharing stories often held photographs of loved ones in frames, which Thomsen photographed and included in the public artwork.
“It is almost this sort of portrait gallery,” Thomsen says of the final collection of images in the installation. They are intimate images. Tight crops. Images being held, she says.
The physical installation, which was just completed, will remain in place through Oct. 12. An opening reception will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Dominican Center for Women, 2470 W. Locust St. The artists will talk about the work at 11 a.m.
The project will also have an online life. To learn more about “here, mothers are” project, go to the artists’ web site.