Sophia Strugnell Xeros-Constantinides

Bitter-Sweet Embrace

PhD candidate

  • Sophia Strugnell Xeros-Constantinides

On the one hand this time (pregnancy) of enormous transition, transformation, and reorganization is one of hope and possibility and on the other, it is a time of crisis and potential disorganization.


Maternity is often idealized within society, where motherhood ‘myths’ paint unachievable pictures of maternal perfection and blissful union with baby.

My thesis and studio-based research has involved looking behind the mask of maternal perfection. I have drawn on what real women have told me as a medical practitioner and on what they have revealed in other settings of their actual experiences of maternity. In this way, I have examined the darker side of motherhood, finding visual metaphors for the vulnerability and ‘undoingness’ that women experience when their bodies are colonized and hi-jacked to play host and protector to new life.

Through picture-making, I find new visual forms for maternity. My imagery is based on the metaphor of journeying to connect with baby, and on the use of collage and juxtaposition to represent the disruption of the status quo for the woman-mother.