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The series ‘The Most Important Job’ started as an exploration of the less pleasant and often hidden sides of motherhood. While mothers are often seen as the tools of society, who create the upstanding citizens of tomorrow, children are approached as just the product of motherhood.

All paintings in the series are based on stills from reality shows about parenting gone wrong. But where television provides an opinion,
a problem, an explanation, and a cure, a painting can be a single still image drenched in emotion. Different each time you view it, different to each viewer. Some paintings in the series are inspired by the work of psychiatrist Alice Miller, who investigates the potential relation between (covert) abuse of children and the extreme power imbalance between parent and child.

‘The Most Important Job’ displays the dreadful sides of parenthood and of childhood, and questions why humans continue to repeat patterns of abuse. Why do some people choose to remember their childhood as the best time of their lives, and why do people have children in the first place? Is it possible to raise a child without damaging it? Could being powerless be inherently traumatic? Perhaps learning how to deal with powerlessness is the most important lesson in life. After all, adults are always subjects to their government and often powerless too, even in the most democratic society.

Photos: Annie van der Werff

Rini Brakkee (1983, NL) graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 2006 and works as an artist and art teacher in Amsterdam. She is interested in existential crises and the strange things people do to deal with them. After exploring various media, from installation to photography and collage, Rini has dedicated herself to oil paint and charcoal.
She bases her works on images from the internet; painting or drawing is a way to curate, materialize, and process these images in a personal way. Rini’s work has been exhibited in, among other places, the Painting Center in New York, and the Rijksmuseum and This Art Fair in Amsterdam.