• A.M.Hedman

Culture chronicle in HERTHA

I was asked to write a column for Hertha about artists' conditions. There was no room for everything that was spinning around in my head at the time, for example that there is no alternative as a 'cultural company' instead of an individual company 'Enskild Firma'.

(There are no SELF Employed option in Sweden, if you make things or offer a service that required invoice you have to have a registered VAT company).

How difficult it is to run a company, how it's not taught the business side in the art colleges. That there is a great pretense that all artists should manage on grants such as work scholarships that do not count towards SGI (Swedish national health insurance) and which everyone longs to receive as it is a form of offical recogniation... But simplified it to just how 'The opportunity to work as an artist and mother is an economic issue'.

"Anna Maria Hedman is an artist and founder of the residency program Mothers in Residence. For Hertha, she writes about the conditions for artists who are also mothers."

BEING AN ARTIST IS A profession based on male premises, the conditions of the male body as creator. Premises that are still not questioned. And it's not about the difference in lack of education anymore.


I HAVE NEVER been involved in the feminist movement. I grew up with a single mother, she has four daughters with four different men. The men disappear and the girls survive, that was so I understood the world. My mother fixed everything that needed fixing, otherwise she asked friends for help. It was not until I myself became a mother and needed to work on the premises that it entails, I discovered how cramped the cultural world seemed, the one I had felt the most space in until now. The opportunity to work as an artist and mother is an economic issue. It often depends on whether you have a partner or family that supports. Nor is entrepreneurship something that is taught in art schools. Or how to combine your artistry with motherhood - and here I do not mean art's thematic treatment of motherhood. As an artist, income travels roller coaster through life. For example, calculating your sickness benefit qualifying income in your individual company has, in my experience, been a nightmare.

WHEN I myself became a mother, I had not established a network or a business as an artist in Sweden, because I had been active in London for thirteen years before that. I received the lowest amount in parental benefit. We managed because I have a partner who supported financially, but this also created an imbalance - my working hours were less valuable and were not prioritised. Phasing out of maternity leave became tough, both for self-confidence and finances


THE QUESTION IS HOW can one re-establish oneself as an artist during the toddler years? Mothers and fathers all have the same high student loans, but very different conditions for repaying the money through our common profession. This seems to be a gender equality issue that is rarely asked, not even in culture. Instead, women just fall away. Maybe because motherhood is met with obvious expectations.

Read the whole chronicle here:

Ink drawing by Anna Maria Hedman

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All