Maman Araignée

I first came across Louise Bourgeois in the form of her famous Maman sculpture, an enormous spider with long spindly legs that towers above all of her spectators. Its image has been stuck in my brain for nearly 5 years now, and I don’t think I ever want it to go away. I read that Bourgeois based this upon her own mother.

The friend (the spider – why the spider?) because my best friend was my mother and she was deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat, and as useful as a spider. She could also defend herself, and me, by refusing to answer ‘stupid’, inquisitive, embarrassing, personal questions.

I shall never tire of representing her.

Something about the way it’s designed to hover, or rather cast a shadow, over the audience drew me in. It can be a little unsettling for anyone who feels less than friendly towards spiders, but I think it’s so beautiful.


Bourgeois said that she never made art for the sake of beauty but rather to release the emotions of her past. She made art for herself. And I admire that.

Isn’t it funny how something can stay with you for such a long time after seeing it just once? And when you can’t stop going back to it, you know it’s something important.