"Motherhood"

South African Photo and Stereo Company (SAPSCO), Johannesburg

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early 20th century

Photo offset lithograph postcard

Overall: 5 3/8 × 3 7/16 in. (13.6 × 8.7 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Hood Museum of Art Acquisitions Fund

2006.18.28

Geography

Place Made: South Africa, Southern Africa, Africa

Period

20th century

Object Name

Photograph

Research Area

Photograph

Not on view

Inscriptions

Printed, in white ink, lower left: Motherhood.; printed, in white ink, lower right: COPYRIGHT / R. 17 - R; printed, in brown ink, on reverse, lower left: "SAPSCO" Real Photo, Box 5792, Johannesburg; printed, in brown in, on reverse, upper left: For Inland Postage and some Foreign / Countries this space may now be used / for communication.; printed, in brown ink, on reverse, upper right: The Address only to be Written Here

Label

Imagery of Black women caring for white children signals histories of racial slavery and colonialism. In Apartheid South Africa, Black women were forced to become domestic laborers for white families. Despite the caretaking role African women played for white children, they were simultaneously denigrated as mothers and considered unfit. Denied access to tending to their own children and homes, Black domestic workers in South Africa and beyond have sustained white families for several generations. Their labor is overlooked and underappreciated, but their care work has been vital to the prosperity of bourgeois families. One might be tempted to look away from this image, but it is included in this exhibition as a testament to the Black domestic labor often written out of history or appropriated into narratives that justify their oppression.

From the 2023 exhibition Homecoming: Domesticity and Kinship in Global African Art, curated by Alexandra Thomas, Curatorial Research Associate

Course History

HIST 7.2, Harem: European Imaginations and Ottoman Realities, Zeynep Turkyilmaz, Katherine Hart, Amelia Kahl, Spring 2012

HIST 66, AAAS 15, History of Africa since 1800, Naaborko Sackeyfio, Spring 2013

ANTH 3, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Winter 2015

ANTH 3, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Winter 2015

GEOG 72.01/AAAS 67.50/WGSS 66.09, Black Consciousness Black Feminism, Abby Neely, Spring 2022

First Year Student Enrichment Program – Cultures, Identities and Belongings, Colleen Lannon, Summer 2023

First Year Student Enrichment Program - Cultures, Identities and Belongings, Mokhtar Bouba, Summer 2023

Philosophy 1.11, Art: True, Beautiful, Nasty, John Kulvicki, Summer 2023

Writing 2.05, Why Write, Anyway?, Erkki Mackey, Fall 2023

Writing 5.24, Photographic Representations, Amanda Wetsel, Fall 2023

Writing 5.25, Photographic Representations, Amanda Wetsel, Fall 2023

Anthropology 31.01, Women's Gender, and Sexuality Studies 36.01, Gender in Cross Cultural Perspectives, Sabrina Billings, Fall 2023

Anthropology 55.01, Anthropology of Global Health, Anne Sosin, Fall 2023

Creative Writing 10.02, Writing and Reading Fiction, Katherine Crouch, Fall 2023

Geography 31.01, Postcolonial Geographies, Erin Collins, Fall 2023

Exhibition History

Black Womanhood: Images, Icons, and Ideologies of the African Body, Owen Robertson Cheatham Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, April 1-August 10, 2008; Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, September 10-December 10, 2008; San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California, January 21-April 26, 2009.

Homecoming: Domesticity and Kinship in Global African Art, Harteveldt Family Gallery, Owen Robertson Cheatham Gallery, and Northeast Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 22, 2023–May 25, 2024.

Made in the Middle: Constructing Black Identities across the African Diaspora, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Anthropology 3, Winter 2015, Chelsey Kivland, Teaching Exhibition, Ivan Albright Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, November 15, 2014-March 15,2015.

Publication History

Barbara Thompson, Black Womanhood: Images, Icons, and Ideologies of the African Body, Seattle: University of Washington Press [Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College], 2008, p. 212, plate 79.

Provenance

Alexandre Przopiorski, Lyon, France; sold to present collection, 2006.

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