Mother / Child / Fly

Mother / Child / Fly

Simone Kennedy was the Institute’s first Visiting Artist-in-Residence. In this recording, we hear how Simone re-imagines a symbolic mother shaped from experience.


Wednesday 13 October 2021
Simone Kennedy, Wellspring, 2020

Simone Kennedy was the Tavistock Institute’s first visiting Artist-in-Residence.

In this talk, Simone re-imagines a symbolic mother shaped from experience. Referencing the memory of her own mother interconnected with her sense of ‘self’, Kennedy extends a genuine exposure to the realm of something darker, revealing the uncanny mother, the strange and unexpected lost mother (the illusionary, ever-changing mother), the mother who reinterprets and delivers feelings of loss, mourning and fragmentation.

In this deep paradoxical attachment, Simone opens up questions about the unresolved difference that defines the history of absence and within this realm investigate with the audience, new ways of delivering a shared experience of absence.

Through her practice, Simone continues to amass a large body of work with unconventional themes which explore and challenge the intersubjective mother/child relationship. As Visiting Artist-in-Residence at the Tavistock Institute, (1 September – 30 October 2021), in alliance with the UK/AU Season Cultural Exchange 2021-22, Simone responds to Tavistock thinking, drawing on shared methodologies, research, self-reflective analysis and the investigation of sleep/dreams, a site where visual methodologies are explored to tease out divergent points of storytelling.

Drawing on her experience as a children’s book illustrator, Simone utilises the number twenty-six to support the storytelling and movement apparent in her ideas. Experiments through series are created, often with the bifurcation of the number twenty-six into thirteen to re-imagine various forms of ‘conversation’, creating pathways sometimes leading to critical discussion with and without the symbolic mother.

Recording of the talk

Q&A Session

Click arrow to play

Slides/ images


Simone Kennedy (b.1963 London) studied at the University of South Australia (formerly known as the College of Advanced Education (1981-1985), (2002-2005), (2011-2015). In 1981 she emigrated from London to Australia, and now divides her time between both countries. Working primarily as a painter she introduced soft sculpture into her practice as a balance to domestic life and has broadened her use of media to include, drawing utilizing collage, animation and installation. Her recent solo exhibitions include a multi-layered investigation into women who birthed their babies in the Lying-in Room at the Migration Museum of South Australia, a semi-performative work as part of the Conference, Australian Associative for Infant Mental Health.  She has also participated in a six-week residency at the Australian Tapestry Workshop (ATW) where she produced a body of work, reimagining the mother/’self’ as a fly.

‘Mother / Child / Fly’ was presented as part of the Tavistock Institute’s Food For Thought series.

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