Marko Mäetamm

Our Daddy is a Hunter


Although inspired by the Delft Blue decorative pottery, instead of petty-bourgeois landscapes or domestic scenes, Mäetamm’s watercolour series depicts a family’s strange game of hide-and-seek. We see a father dressed as a hunter chasing his children and wife around an apartment and threatening them in various ways. The pictures are accompanied by a poem written from a son’s perspective, which depicts his father not as a violent man, as one might assume from the pictures, but as an outstanding and admirable person.

Marko Mäetamm often portrays everyday life and relationships in an uncompromisingly grotesque manner. To be honest, Our Daddy is a Hunter seems downright innocent or playful in comparison to many of his other works. Just as society’s understanding of the family is changing, so is the reception of Mäetamm’s works. There are those who see his work not as a critique of masculinity, but instead as promoting misogyny and chauvinism. From this point of view, Mäetamm probably falls into the same category as Jordan Peterson, Andrew Tate or perhaps even Varro Vooglaid. However, Marko himself believes that the father figure we see in his works is already destined to disappear into history. Unfortunately, the ghost of this historical patriarch still looms over men and the whole of society even today.

I don’t think that being a man should or even could be to blame here. Rather, each person is solely responsible for their own rage, including the rage planted in them by birching. Although domestic violence and gender inequality have been talked about more and more in the Estonian public in recent years, they still remain taboo topics. Thus, in Mäetamm’s work too, there is always the risk that something “is funny because it’s true”, while no serious discussion, self-reflection or recognition follows. However, confronting matters is valuable because you can’t get rid of the ghost without portraying and facing it.