MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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Mothers’ Day 2020 in Virtual Reality

Lately, it seems, there are so few words to describe our current world. Mother earth is in shock even as mothers across America celebrate this holiday made virtual. So many of us cannot spend the day with our adult children due to social distancing while other families are overwhelmed with responsibilities, hunger, homeschooling, exhaustion, health, and a host of issues.

So, what do do?

Sometimes, in the quiet, we find hope for a new day. Here at MOM, our prayers, light, and love shine through even though we too have been largely silent. If you would like to register a mother you love on our Tribute Wall you can do so here at this link (by making a small donation to MOM. Happy Mothers’ Day and please do stay safe, healthy, and blessed!

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Joy Rose and Mom International Mothers’ Day Shrine

Mothers’ Day was first celebrated in 1908 when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St. Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia (now the International Mothers’ Day Shrine). In 2014, I had the great honor of speaking at the 100 year anniversary of the creation of the shrine and commemoration of the official holiday with my mother in attendance. Items and ephemera from that occasion are currently housed in the MOM Art Annex in St. Petersburg, Florida.

~ Martha Joy Rose

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Childless By Choice?

Written by Annika Tornatore (Edited by M. Joy Rose)

According to a recent article in Psychology Today, American mothers are challenged to balance work struggles and their home lives with increasing levels of stress. At the same time, cultural messaging about parenthood often glorifies motherhood and does not reflect the inherent conflicts between the personal and professional. Some studies show that young women are questioning whether motherhood is something to aspire to. In this blog post, I question whether having children leads to more happy and successful outcomes? I do this by sharing the perspectives of young women who are intent on changing contemporary narratives about childlessness by consciously choosing not to procreate.

Motherhood presents fresh challenges for every parent. Those challenges can include but are not limited to, increased financial burdens, new time constraints, and balancing work outside the home with childrearing duties. “The biggest issue for working mothers is the idea that they must be available around the clock both at home and the office” (Ferrante, Mary Beth). Unrealistic expectations chip away at maternal confidence as new mothers can be forced to confront impossible choices- work more or spend more time with the baby.

In addition to juggling multiple responsibilities, new mothers are confronted with dominant narratives that over-glorify motherhood. In the media, in subtle conversations, and in public discourse, impossible expectations can take a toll on women’s self-esteem: “Whether it’s a pregnant character on a TV show or a photo spread heralding a celebrity’s rapid recovery of her pre-pregnancy physique, media portrayals of pregnant and postpartum women tend to be unrealistic.” (“Media Portrayals of Pregnant Women, New Moms Unrealistic.”). These cultural imperatives are rarely achievable, resulting in negative emotions including depression and anxiety. A shift on behalf of media portrayals of perfect motherhood might lead to a more balanced perspective on pregnancy and post-natal realities. Perhaps mothers might experience less stress and more confidence?

Lastly, I would like to share two perspectives from women who are childless by choice. A Time Magazine article titled “Why I have Zero Regrets About My Childless Life,” by Stephanie Zacharek, chronicles her inability to conceive children. She has come to believe that she was okay without having kids. Stephanie writes, “My job these days, as a movie critic-is immensely satisfying, but it’s that much more so because of the freedom I have.” Her decision to accept childlessness has brought her unexpected happiness. It gave her a chance to explore what she was capable of without worrying about taking care of children. Additionally, the website, Cup of Joe recently published stories about women who determined motherhood was not for them. Wudan, a first-generation American, felt intense familial pressure to start a family. She shares her revelations: “I got to a point where I realized that having kids would throw my career for a curve. I’m a journalist who travels all the time, and I truly love my job.” Wudan was motivated to keep moving her career forwards. She determined that having children would cause her to expend energy on other things, and not on her career (Miller, Kelly).

I think it takes a lot of courage and strength for women to go against the norms of becoming a mother. My mother worked two jobs to help pay the bills. I have seen the struggle my mom endured to make sure that I have thrived. Women who decide to go against the norms should know that they can have successful lives without children. This may not be something people think about, but it is an option and it may well indeed lead some to personal happiness.

About Annika:

Hi everyone! My name is Annika Tornatore. I am a Biomedical Sciences major at the University of South Florida. After attending USF, my next goal in life will be to attend medical school. I aim to be an Anesthesiologist or a Pathologist. Although medicine interested in me for a short period, my passion for science and learning will carry me to encounter new discoveries. Besides medicine, I am an avid bookworm. Some of my favorite books tend to focus on a mixture of fantasy and science fiction. Dance and music are some of my other favorite hobbies. Dance has been a consistent passion and shaped me who I am. My favorite styles of dance are hip hop and tap. Furthermore, I aspire to travel the world. I yearn to explore and experience various cultures. I desire to learn from the people around me and hope to implement what I learn in my life.

I came in contact with the Museum of Motherhood, MOM, through an honors class at the university. This class pertains to the issues that arise infertility, motherhood, and reproductive justice. One of the aspects of this class was to partake in a Service Learning Project. This ranged from assisting in research to volunteering to writing blogs. For my service-learning, I chose an internship with the Museum of Motherhood. MOM has several goals that align with what I hope to do. The Museum of Motherhood aims to spread its messages about motherhood and family through art exhibits and blogs. I hope that through this internship, I could also attain some of their goals and spread their mission.

Work Cited:

Ferrante, Mary Beth. “The Pressure Is Real For Working Mothers.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 27 Aug. 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/marybethferrante/2018/08/27/the-pressure-is-real-for-working-mothers/#40090a582b8f.

“Media Portrayals of Pregnant Women, New Moms Unrealistic.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 7 Aug. 2017, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170807152604.htm.

Miller, Kelsey. “8 Women on Choosing Not to Have Kids.” A Cup of Jo, 18 Dec. 2018, cupofjo.com/2018/12/childless-by-choice/.

“Mothers Are Drowning in Stress.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 6 Mar. 2019, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shouldstorm/201903/mothers-are-drowning-in-stress?amp.

Zacharek, Stephanie. “Why I Have Zero Regrets About My Childless Life.” Time, Time, 3 Jan. 2019, time.com/5492622/stephanie-zacharek-childless-life/.

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When Pandemonium Hits – Caregivers Unite!

When pandemonium hits, caregivers unite!

When families have to hunker down and stay put with their kids out of school, community contacts are restricted, and the workplace is disrupted, we must do everything within our power to stay positive.

When healthcare concerns trump everyday freedoms, each of us must look to the future and how we can make things better.

When Kimberly Seals writes an article for a widely-read publication about the often difficult and unpaid labor of caregivers, I pay attention.

Her recent article for #WomensHistoryMonth is online at the #WashingtonPost here.

I feel grateful to have contributed to this piece.

I feel grateful to you for reading it.

I feel grateful to live in her world (and yours).

I feel grateful to #teach #MotherStudies.

While you are spending more time social distancing, may you and your loved ones have food, may you and your loved ones have shelter, may you and your loved ones be well, may you keep the light of love inside you.

With Great Affection,

Martha Joy Rose

Get woke. Or, at least, well read: For your personal reading list, or if you’re in a book club, Rose suggests including titles that examine motherhood in a historical, racial or cultural context. She specifically recommends “Motherhood and Feminism” by Amber Kinser; “Reproducing Race” by Khiara M. Bridges; “Black Feminist Thought” by Patricia Hill Collins; and “The Price of Motherhood” by Crittenden. Take a six-week class with the Museum of Motherhood, or attend an online event this month. KSA

Kimberly Seals Allers and Martha Joy Rose at the Annual Academic MOM Conference in NYC

 

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The Founding Mothers: Women in Herstory

This month marks the International celebration of Women’s Day (Sunday, March 8) and Women’s History Month.

Both of these acknowledgments demonstrate an earnest desire to understand and honor the contributions of women. Wednesday, March 11th will mark the opening event for a new exhibit at USF, Women’s and Gender Studies Dept., curated by Martha Joy Rose.

Panels featuring the four waves of feminism flank the entrance to the exhibit titled The Founding Mothers: Women in Herstory. Also on exhibit are a myriad of art pieces including works by Rose, Christen Clifford, and Kim Alderman. This timely installation brings together feminist voices throughout herstory who have challenged conventional attitudes about gendered performance and motherhood through their writing, activism, and art. A multi-media interactive exhibit encourages participants to think critically about evolving family narratives and womyn’s place in society.

Please do come visit. See the impact Mother Studies can have on your life, perspective, and the future. Write INFO@MOMmuseum.org for more info. Flyer for the opening event is here. The exhibit will be up through May 8, 2020.

See more panels here online at the Museum of Motherhood: LINK

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M.A.M.A. 41 Featuring Michele Landel and Ann E. Wallace

MAMA with MOM Museum, Procreate Project and Mom Egg Review featuring Michelle Landel

Bio: Michele Landel creates intensely textured and airy collages using burned, quilted, and embroidered photographs and paper to explore the themes of exposure, absence, and memory. She manually manipulates digital photographs to highlight the way images hide and filter the truth. She then sews layers of paper together to create bandages and veils and to transform images into fragile maps.

Michele is an American artist. She holds degrees in Fine Arts and Art History. Her work has been exhibited in Europe, the UK, and the US and she is extremely proud to have been in the 2017 Mother Art Prize group show. She was awarded the 2018 Innovative Technique Award by the Surface Design Association and is represented by the Jen Tough Gallery in Santa Fe, NM and the Muriel Guepin Gallery in NYC, NY. Her upcoming art events include Imagining Identity: Contemporary Textiles at the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation in Palo Alto, CA and the Hankyu Paris Art Fair in Osaka, Japan. Michele has lived in France for over 15 years. She has three school-age children and works out of her art studio in the Paris 9th arrondissement.

Project Descriptions :

1) Who’s Afraid is intended to capture the tension between men’s anxiety of being unreasonably accused of inappropriate behavior and women’s fear of sexual harassment and assault. It is referencing the play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and the inherent tension between actors and audience that is part of theater performance and in this play the volatile and complicated relationship between men and women. To capture this, Michele started with the gaze. Specifically, the ‘male gaze’ as defined by the feminist film theorist, Laura Mulvey. She began with a photograph of an anonymous woman from a clothing catalog. The photograph fits interestingly within Mulvey’s three phases of the ‘male gaze’: How men look at women, how women look at themselves, and how women look at other women. She enlarged the photograph, divided it into small rectangles, and then printed the image on secondhand bed sheets. She pieced the photograph back together and painted, using machine embroidery, the woman onto a second bed sheet – covering her skin, hair, and clothes with thread. She cut out the woman’s eyes to make the viewer uncomfortable and scared. Deliberately referencing childhood ghost costumes made by cutting out eyeholes from old bed sheets, she is engaging with the idea of spectator and specter both of which have the Latin root word ‘spect’ meaning to ‘see.’ From a distance, the embroidered figure on the sheet appears three-dimensional. The embroidered figure appears to ‘see’ the viewer when in fact the gaze is empty. The vacant gaze causes anxiety and feels powerful. Blog Link I Instagram @michelelandel  I www.michelelandel.com

1) Michele Landel

For There She Was, comes from the last line of Virginia Woolf ‘s “Mrs. Dalloway” and includes over a hundred embroidered, burned, dyed and collaged images. The series emerged from thinking about all the women who are currently speaking out about their pain and trauma and are refusing to go away. To summarize this moment, Michele brewed natural dyes in her kitchen using organic materials and then dyed small scraps of fabric (a cloth baby diaper, an antique tablecloth, a stained tea towel…) to represent the physicality of womanhood and gender roles. She matched the fabrics with small paper dolls that are digitally edited photographs from clothing catalogs to show the commodification and manipulation of women’s stories. To deliberately erase the women, she burned holes in the photographs and repeatedly stitched over their faces and bodies. Yet the women are still there. Their presence is even stronger.

Closed

By Ann E. Wallace

Close the door.
She looks at me like I am ridiculous.
But I only left it open for a minute.
A girl raised by a father has not
had to think much about the reasons
a family of girls keeps the door closed
and locked.
A family of girls knows
the unwanted will enter
closed doors, will penetrate locks
uninvited.
We do not need to leave
the door open for them.

Ann E. Wallace writes of life with illness, motherhood, and other everyday realities. Her poetry collection is Counting by Sevens, from Main Street Rag, and her published work, featured in journals such as Wordgathering, The Literary Nest, Rogue Agent, Mothers Always Write, and Juniper, can be found on her website AnnWallacePhD.com. She lives in Jersey City, NJ and is on Twitter @annwlace409.

The Museum of Motherhood, the ProCreate Project, the Mom Egg Review, and the Mother Magazine are pleased to announce the launch of a bi-monthly international exchange of ideas and art. M.A.M.A. will celebrate the notion of being “pregnant with ideas” in new ways. This scholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the creative, the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. Download the Press Release here or read about updated initiatives#JoinMAMA  @ProcreateProj  @MOMmuseum @TheMomEgg

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MAMA Issue 40: External Masquerade and Scars

Bio: Anna Perach’s practice is informed by the dynamic between personal and cultural myths. She explores how our private narratives are deeply rooted in ancient storytelling and folklore and conversely how folklore has the ability to tell us intimate, confidential stories about ourselves. In her work, She synthesizes female mythic characters and retells their stories while placing them in the current climate. By doing so Anna creates an experience of eeriness, evoking a sense of both familiarity and distress.

Anna’s main medium of work is wearable sculpture and performance. She works in a technique called tufting, making hand-made carpet textiles that she transforms into wearable sculptures. The sculpture functions as both a garment that is performed in as well as an independent sculpture. Through this choice of medium Anna is interested in exploring how elements associated with the domestic sphere operate as an extension of the self and reflect on one’s heritage and gender role. Her performances reverse this dynamic and exhibit the private domestic carpet as an external masquerade both exposing and hiding fragments of the self.

ALKANOST: tufted yarn and hand embroidery, 80x130cm, 2019

https://www.annaperach.com/work

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Scars

By Jane Yolen

I saw my mother undressed once.

There were ribbed scars on her back.

I rubbed my point finger

lightly over one of the ridges.

She shuddered at my touch.

I asked her if it hurt.

She said it was a reminder,

her voice almost cooing.

I was too young to understand.

Years later when they took my wings,

before I could even stretch them,

before the air had foiled around them,

I remembered that day. My daughter

and her daughters will never go

under that particular knife.

I will keep them safe, hidden

till the wind can lift them.

There is so much sky.

Jane Yolen will have published over 376 books by the end of 2018. She has worked in almost every genre possible. Her books include several NY Times bestselling children’s picture books, prize-winning short stories, and poems. Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates. She was the first writer to win the New England Public Radio’s Arts & Humanities award. She’s mother of three (all in the book business) and grandmother of six.

“Scars” by Jane Yolen was previously published in Mom Egg Review Vol. 17, 2019.

The Museum of Motherhood, the ProCreate Project, the Mom Egg Review, and the Mother Magazine are pleased to announce the launch of a bi-monthly international exchange of ideas and art. M.A.M.A. will celebrate the notion of being “pregnant with ideas” in new ways. This scholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the creative, the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. Download the Press Release here or read about updated initiatives#JoinMAMA  @ProcreateProj  @MOMmuseum @TheMomEgg