Luce Stewart (b. 1998, London) is a multimedia artist currently studying at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. They publish work under the artist name ‘Poor Mother’, a performative drag persona created during their foundation year. Poor Mother acts as a vehicle for Stewart to confront their gender dysphoria via the fantasy act of mothering, culminating in live readings of abstract text often with the aid of sculptural baby props.
Stewart’s writing draws inspiration from their own displacement, as well as the conflicting method of making work under the persona Poor Mother. This dissection of personal and performative identity often results in surreal imagery and manipulated literary structure taking place somewhere between speculative fiction and poetry. The readings mirror the surreality of the text, with Poor Mother’s performative melancholia and exaggerated gender further distancing the work from reality.
Humour and metamorphosis are also prevalent through Poor Mother’s sculptural babies. They are ugly, tapeworm-esque creatures representative of Stewart’s prospective offspring. These creatures also appear in an ongoing series of oil pastel drawings which expand on the surreal image generation present in the writing.
In the last year, Stewart has performed as Poor Mother at The Bloomsbury Theatre, The Crypt St Pancras and The Windmill, Brixton. Their drawings were recently shown as part of ‘And What? Queer Arts Festival’ at The Archive Gallery in Haggerston.