A mother’s love for her baby
Using a combination of 3D animation and experimental prose, A mother’s love for her baby explores the corruption and conditions endemic in the Magdalene Laundries and mother and baby homes run by the Catholic church in Ireland throughout the 20th century. Influenced by Saidiya Hartman’s concept of “critical fabulation” – the use of storytelling to fill the gaps left in historical records – the film advocates for a bottom-up form of historiography: centring historically marginalised voices of Irish women and critiquing the structures of power that (re)produce their dispossession.
Artists Cat & Eimear McClay have fashioned a compelling and sensitive way to speak about systemic abuse and harrowing violence. Their distinctive animations use and question Catholic iconography – growing a multi-layered world of spectral objects and spaces that can manifest and reverberate with both haunting suffering and restorative force. The work is suffused with a darkness made all the more sinister by colourful, shimmering everyday and religious objects. But, with great care, A mother’s love for her baby attends to the colossal weight of intergenerational trauma and the often-silenced whispers of individual lives. An especially poignant part of the work imagines through text the voice of a mother forcefully separated from her child, conjuring presence out of anonymity with heart-breaking intensity.
~ Ilinca Vanau
Cat McClay and Éiméar McClay are Irish collaborative artists currently based in Glasgow. In 2020, they graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in Intermedia Art. Their practice considers ideas of queerness, abjection and patriarchal systems of power and oppression through an interdisciplinary body of work comprising video, 3D models, installation and digital collage.
Queer Use (2020), A body is a body is a body (2021), I guess I need you baby (2021), A mother’s love for her baby (2022), I looked for you all my life but could not find you (2022)