NOW until 7th July 2018 @ Autograph ABP, Rivington Place, London EC2A 3BA

‘We search for our mothers in order to find ourselves. The black mother is the instrument and embodiment of history. My mother is “The Object of My Gaze”’ – Marcia Michael
In ‘I Am Now You – Mother’, Marcia Michael visualises the act of matri-lineage through the body of her mother, Myrtle McKnight.

Michael uses photography and oral history to retrieve lost and re-imagined narratives of her matri-lineal ancestry, creating an intimate dialogue between mother and daughter in order visualise history from her mother’s memory. In the artist’s own words: ‘my desire is to recover a visual and aural narrative of my matri-lineal history and reunite the present with the past. The body is testament to the refusal to forget. The body, my mother’s body, is all of my histories’.


Partus Sequitur Ventrem, from the series The Object of My Gaze, 2015-2017

Adapting call and response as a visual methodology, Michael’s call for historical understanding is met by her mother’s response permitting the search to be mediated through her body. The resulting visual conversation is unsettling in its revelatory rawness, and affirmative in its courageous offering: a ‘dialogue of matri-lineage’.

Concerned with ancestral history and re-remembering, many of the photographs’ titles include the Latin Partus sequitur ventrem: ‘that which is brought forth follows the womb’. This historical law, which decreed that the social status of the mother is inherited by the child, shapes the mother for Michael as both maker and marker of history.

In the video ‘Remembering You Remember M’e, Myrtle McKnight is presented in five simultaneous frames, each retelling the birth of her child. The layered, poly-vocal narrative of her uncensored maternal voice creates a powerful and disorientating effect, recovering the history of a matri-lineal memory.
The exhibition includes a selection of works from Marcia Michael’s multidisciplinary project ‘The Object of My Gaze‘ (2015–17).
Exhibition opening times:
  • Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday 11:00 AM  – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM
The gallery is closed on Sundays, Mondays and Public Holidays.