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Jill Skulina

Artist Biography

In my 2019 work for Nomas* Projects, I was asked to investigate the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus, with particular focus on the biblical interpretation of events, and how my own experience as a mother affected that reading. Addressing the theme of The Incarnation, I worked with historical interpretations of events, memories and written accounts; the role of translation and re-membering. This culminated in ​Wholly Expletive an exhibition of 5 ceramic vessels each telling a small part of a wider narrative around pregnancy and the birth of Jesus.Themes include teenage pregnancy; being the mother of a teenage girl; childbirth; and omnipresent notions of virginity and patriarchy. I challenge the idea of mothers as serene HolyVirgins. Childbirth and what follows can be traumatic and can ultimately result in PTSD even in 'straight forward’ births, through my artwork I hope to support other women in similar situations in knowing their stories are valid and their feelings are normal, even if they feel nothing at all.

As a response to lockdown I created a series of teapots and self portraits reflecting on how it feels looking at myself more often than I ever normally would, the insecurities and self criticism that it stimulated. All of the teapots are intentionally non functional with tiny, impractical or no handles and oversized or blocked spouts representing the closing off of bad habits and openness to new, less critical, and caring ways of talking to myself.

Selected Exhibitions