Arts Preview: OBLSK and Motherful’s ‘M O T H E R’
Creative marketing agency and interactive multimedia arts group OBLSK is creating a one-night-only moving arts experience with a nonprofit focused on single mothers.
M O T H E R will be an experiential, walkthrough performance and installation that highlights the fears, joy and experience of mothers of all kinds.
Performance, sculpture and projection will be used to illustrate the role of the mother, with the moving installation taking place indoors and outdoors.
“The inside is the inside of the body. Really it’s the womb, it’s the vagina, it’s the cervix, all of these parts that are to be played,” said Eve Warnock, OBLSK’s cofounder. “And then on the outside is the journey, so it’s the relationship to the journey between the mother and child.”
The installation highlights the storytelling ability of OBLSK as well as the unconventional nature of the group’s work, which seeks to provide powerful multi-sensory experiences.
“There’s so many different interpretations of it, especially in the Western society, of how we look at the mother and the mother’s role,” said Warnock. “Especially during COVID, the mother’s role was huge. The amount of responsibility the mother took on during that time was just incredible.”
The performance will follow a schedule, with a scene titled Ecstasy from 6 – 6:30 p.m. Pain, Birth and Joy will also take place at half-hour intervals before a brief intermission. At 9 p.m. the Churn scene takes place outdoors while the sun sets. The four-hour installation is not meant to be sat through, as guests can come and go as they please.
Warnock and OBLSK operating manager Lisa Woodward came up with the concept. Woodward is also the co-founder of Motherful, a Columbus nonprofit empowering single mothers. Since the nonprofit’s founding, they’ve long thought about collaborating on a piece.
The installation has been in the works for a few months. A promotional photoshoot came first, photographed by Kate Sweeney.
“We made them as almost symbols and of mythology, almost like goddesses,” said Warnock. “It was really empowering and it was beautiful. We got all of these women, and they stretched and they believed in us.”
Most of the featured performers and artists are mothers themselves, said Warnock, and even a few are from Motherful.
The nonprofit was founded in 2019 and provides many ways for single mothers to get resources, including a pantry, community garden and resource garage.
Founded by Woodward and Heidi Howes, Motherful also hosts a wide variety of programming for mothers, including workshops and self-care days, with long-term plans to build a single-mother-centered housing co-op.
The nonprofit will receive at least 20% of ticket sales to help fund its work and programming.
Woodward says the content of M O T H E R may be taboo, but it’s also relatable.
“You might have not seen everybody else’s journey, but you’ll be able to add something to the journey that you’ve known all along and understand other women are going through other things,” she said.
Warnock said M O T H E R won’t be an “easy” performance. It doesn’t take the sweet, surface-level route, but is honest and real about motherhood.
She says mothers, fathers, brothers, etc. may feel a variety of emotions — pride, amusement, sorrow, absolution, appreciation. In talking with mothers, OBLSK also came back to themes of expectation and guilt.
“Moms are on 24/7. There’s not a break – ever,” said Warnock. “You can’t be perfect, so you have all of these memories of things you didn’t do right. As well as mothers that never really mothered. It’s there, it happens. There’s all these different types of mothers.”
Warnock hopes not just mothers but fathers, brothers, and more experience the installation and support Motherful. She says M O T H E R is going to make people “uncomfortable, and also really comfortable.”
With that, OBLSK and Motherful are already planning for the next performance.
“Our goal is to get as many people to the show, that can support the next event, which is going to be something incredible,” said Warnock.
M O T H E R takes place on Thursday, June 24 starting at 6 p.m. at The Vanderelli Room, 218 McDowell St. in Franklinton.
Visit oblskinc.com/mother for more information.