Did They Have to Be Quiet? Radically Repositioning Trauma and Mothering Through a Wit(h)nessing Lens

de Jong, Marijke
Boberg, Ingrid
Amundsen, Fiona
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Master of Visual Art
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Auckland University of Technology

This practice-led master’s project explores intergenerational Holocaust trauma in relation to mothering. This investigation is situated within my personal matrilineal family story of mothering and being mothered with a history of Holocaust trauma. This project comes to fruition through photographic, filmic and sonic methods. The methodologies of this research prioritise an ethos of care by focusing on reparative relations which are underpinned by current somatic trauma scholarship. The ethical nature of my research focuses not only on the original trauma rupture of the Holocaust but the traces of trauma that reside in the maternal bodies of my lineage. The artworks of this project present a chorus of voices that traverse time, generations, cultures, and places anchored through a reassertion of the maternal gaze in the form of witnessing through a camera’s lens. This research explores how a camera, as a third party, can play the role of a witness and listener that can bring new awareness and knowledge of the impact of Holocaust trauma on mothering. The project aims to interrupt generational patterns of trauma between the mother-child dyad. I privilege trauma recovery and mothers’ welfare as a universal social need that can impact all aspects of wellbeing in societies.

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