‘Tis the season of grace and friendship. Let us shine our lights brightly and wide. Let us reflect on the past as we approach the new year. Let that include in our reflections a little understood, often neglected vast herstory of Goddess-wisdom from within the pagan evolutions of this holiday season rooted in mystical wisdom and earth worship.
As the director of the MoM for almost twenty years, I have met with academics, artists, and m/others from around the world. They often share elaborative perspectives on women’s issues, family studies, and feminism. I often meet people who have lived experiences vastly different than my own. They always inspire.
For example, artist, scholar, and Femspec editor, Batya Weinbaum arrived onsite at MoM for a month of mural-making and herstory speaking at the beginning of December. Everyday, there is some new story. Beginning with her early years in Manhattan as a young feminist participating variety in consciousness-raising collectives to her systematic sharing of stories of art-making and land-living. Batya regularly teaches college coursework, hosts online art circles, and speaks at international gatherings. For me, she has become a wise, welcome daily fixture onsite at MoM, where young families regularly visit to hear her stories and where we collaborate on some art-sharing circles.
Batya is a graduate of Hampshire College and a mosaic muralist acclaimed for an eight year art installation project on Isla Mujeres, Mexico, where images of fertility goddesses from around the world and across cultures were assembled in large figurines in order to lend strength to the Maya fertility goddess, IxChel. Her work elaborates on the Neolithic period, influenced by the works of Marija Gimbutas, Riane Eisler, Monica Sjoo (The Great Cosmic Mother) and Elizabeth Barber (Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years), who discuss periods of human history when motherhood was not a liability but something to be revered.
While visiting the MOM Art Annex, she will be constructing a fertility goddess mural from 6000 BCE. She believes women need to get in touch with origin myths in order to be strong women today. I agree!
This energy is significantly meaningful for students of all ages. Beyond contemporary celebrity icons, it is important to channel the power of the little studied leaders of a more female-friendly, woman-centric world.
Dr. Weinbaum’s contributions to MoM will serve up inspiration as well as a powerful legacy of connection to community members touring the MOM Art Annex as we build together towards our vision of a Museum of Motherhood here in St. Pete.
“Batya’s work hits on so many different levels for women, whether or not they’re mothers or feminists… And even in our current political climate, I think all women can and will find a unique resonance with this booming goddess that she’s installing at MOMMuseum. For me personally, as someone who has always struggled with balancing humility and pride, Batya’s raw, bold work inspires bravery and pride in addition to capturing the colorful joys that mothers contribute to a community.” – Dannie Snyder, Artivist & Educator
BIO: Batya Weinbaum is a visionary artist whose works have been sold at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, the Oberlin Art Museum, and many galleries in NY, Boston, VA, OH, Hawaii and Michigan as well as Mexico. She has been active in the Association for the Study of Women in Mythology. Some of her work can be seen at goddess vibe.org. Dr. Weinbaum teaches online at Boston College in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development, and American Public University. She earned her doctorate at UMass Amherst, her Master’s at SUNY Buffalo, and her Bachelor’s at Hampshire College. She has published numerous creative and critical works, including award-winning essays, fiction and poetry. She was a cofounder of the Feminist Mother’s and Their Allies Caucus and Task Force in National Women’s Studies Association, where she petitioned for child care, and has published extensively about the impact of motherhood on grassroots political organizing in Palestine/Israel, in numerous journals and anthologies.
As Batya writes, “A museum dedicated to the study of motherhood deserves a message from the past via an image of a goddess, a fat fecundity image seated on a throne flanked by lions from Catal Huyuk now in Turkey, conjuring up shrines where goddesses were revered for giving birth.”
Ms. Weinbaum splits her time between Floyd VA and Cleveland Hts, OH, is happy to grant interviews about the project. Her art, publications, workshops and adventures can be followed on IG #divinefemimineartworkshops
More on Goddesses Brooklyn Museum [here].
Yours in Affirmations for World Peace, Feminist Equalities, and Friendship,
Martha Joy Rose, Director