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A City of Ladies


No mother can be all things to a child. When that child grows up wanting to be an artist, she may need creative mothers to help her along the way. Sometimes those mothers are people she meets in real life, and sometimes they are women she knows only through their biographies, letters, diaries, and creative work.  


In a series of personal visual narratives, Susanne investigates how 10 of her chosen mothers have guided her thinking about issues she has faced as woman and an artist, among them friendships with other women, relationships with men, the decision whether or not to have children, how to live a creative life, the purpose of life, and growing older.


These explorations are organized in and shared with the reader through a website that serves as a portal to an imaginary city inspired by the one medieval writer Christine de Pizan, one of Susanne’s creative mothers, built in her 1405 The Book of the City of Ladies. 


Christine understood her city as a place to which she and others could travel to whenever they needed a community of women to defend, support, inspire, and uplift them. The stories she collected in it were biographical.


Susanne’s city is a space she created to organize, store, and share her experiences and memories. In it, she collects personal narratives through which she processes and understands her own world and own experiences. In sharing them, she hopes her city of ladies serves as a place of connection and contemplation, and is a catalyst for readers to think about their own experiences, their own chosen mothers.




Susanne Reece is a writer and illustrator. She loves words, the sound of them, the ways they can be arranged to convey meaning. She loves languages, and if she had enough time, she would master every one. She loves the language of images, how they can draw attention to some aspect of life, of reality. The real world and the people and other creatures in it are endlessly fascinating to her, stranger and more wonderful than fiction. She is compelled to seek out and create stories about them that use words and images. Figuring out how to do this is what occupies most of her time.


Susanne is always looking for an excuse to draw birds or bears and is currently trying to learn Swedish. She lives, draws, writes, and reads in New York. 

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