M.A.M.A. 45 Rubiane Maia

April 2021: Art and words by Rubiane Maia

Procreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 45th edition of this scholarly discourse. Literature intersects with art to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between 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. #JoinMAMA #artandmotherhood

For the last three years, I have been investigating the concept of memory and its resonances in our way of existing. More specifically, focusing on the philosophy of Time proposed by Henri Bergson, which affirms memory as duration. In other words, it deals in depth with the subjective time that implies the continuous relationship between our consciousness and the world. This means that our consciousness (which is also memory) is not linear, as it is constituted on the indivisibility of past and present. In Bergson’s words, ‘duration is the continuous progress of the past that gnaws the future and swells as it progresses’. In my opinion, this sentence precisely confirms  the hypothesis that memory cannot be configured as a drawer where remembrances are saved, because as the past is preserved by itself as a virtuality that coexists with us, it accompanies us entirely: each one of us is the condensation of the history lived since birth – and even before it.

This notion that the past is a vital force that moves incessantly, coexisting and actualising itself through our bodies continuously has been a fundamental aspect in my current artistic production. I am particularly interested in the concept that the moment a memory is actualised through an action, it ceases to be a memory, becoming perception again. In this sense, the body becomes the device that launches us towards any future. In summary, consciousness is memory. Memory is duration. Duration is a continuous flow. This moving force is what unites the material and spiritual world. On the other hand, if we point these concepts in the direction of Indigenous Cosmologies, none of this is new. However, as we were born and grew up in a westernised world with numerous layers of violence and oppression, we are used to see the hegemonic perspective. Decolonizing memories takes a lot of effort. Effort to escape from the comfortable place of rationality. Effort to regain the vital impulse of the body that acts, that resignifies, that reorganizes time and life.

DISSOLUTIONS

our bodies inhabit landscapes

even on mainland, 

we follow the speed of the fish 

arms take the form of dorsal fins 

legs, tails

we are submerged, 

drunk with salt water, contradictions and algorithms 

our scaly skin burns, stings 

it is true that not all parts of the body fit together – – 

becoming-creature, becoming-noise, becoming-mud 

the ocean is full of mythologies 

hybrid beings,

bird fishes, jellyfishes, hammerhead sharks 

in the middle east, 

mermaids are goddesses of the sea, of vegetation and rain – – 

they smell of dew

in some places in Africa, 

they are stormy forces that mobilize the energy of creation

Mameto – Dandá – Kianda – –

Dandalunda, mãe-d’água, Odoyá! 

our bodies not only inhabit,

they breath the landscapes

turbulent waters,

urine – giant waves – undertow – –

my fins fold in different directions at the same time

unlike fish, i have lungs:

two spongy cones that I use  to filter the air

yes, i breathe,

i, us, the fishes and some other creatures

we breathe, even against our desire

involuntary act,

first and last movement of the life

vortex between birth and death

a gentle breeze comes in through the nostril,

fills the chest,

activates the diaphragm,

moves your tongue,

vibrates

thus, the voice is born

from voice to song, from song to word, from word to scream

our bodies not only breathe, 

they become landscapes

from each breath a mountain emerges, 

hills – dunes – stones  – – 

presence

organs are territories, 

complex systems, regions 

they make mazes and borders 

they form valleys, subtle surfaces, rivers and lakes

every mouth is an abyss, 

an endless hole

rough skin, dry leaf 

dark eyes, fissures 

anus, tunnel 

blood, current 

sweat, combustion. 

sneeze, storm 

feet, roots 

bones, architecture 

breath, gust of warm wind

body-landscape 

landscaped bodies

we inhale, suspend, count to five 

we exhale, suspend, count to four 

we inhale, suspend, count to three

silence 

we count to two, expand

one

i am breathing as someone that turn the key, 

shifting worlds to open and close the body

physical, mental, emotional,

rupture – interference – happening – – 

action that operates in the invisible, 

in a constant process of variation 

difference

breathing is to metabolize, 

dissolving all forms, segments, rules, institutions. 

breathing is channeling, 

an offer from you to you – sensitive laboratory – –

an unpredictable device

vivid dreams

sigh

* Photographs by Manuel Vason

More about Rubiane:

Rubiane Maia is a Brazilian visual artist based between Folkestone, UK and Vitoria, Brazil. She completed a degree in Visual Arts and a Master degree in Institutional Psychology at Federal University of Espírito Santo, Brazil. Her artwork is an hybrid practice across performance, video, installation and text, occasionally flirting with drawing and collage. She is attracted by states of synergy, encompassing the invisible relationships of affect and flux, and investigates the body in order to amplify the possibilities of perception beyond the habitual. By doing so, she is constantly re-elaborating her personal notion of existential territories (spatial, temporal, cognitive, social and political). More recently, she has been researching the concept of memory and its relationship with language and the phenomena of incorporation [embodiment], often making use of personal narratives as a device for action and resilience.

In 2014/15 she received a scholarship at the Atelier in Visual Arts of the Secretary of Culture of Espírito Santo, she launched the book ‘Self Portrait in Footnotes’ and participated in the exhibition ‘Modos de Usar’ at the Museu de Arte of Espírito Santo. In 2015, she took part at the workshop ‘Cleaning the House’ with Marina Abramovic and participated at the exhibition ‘Terra Comunal – Marina Abramovic + MAI’, at SESC Pompéia, São Paulo with the long durational performance ‘The Garden’ (2 months). In the same year, she produced her first short film ‘EVO’ that premiered at the 26th Festival Internacional de São Paulo and 22nd Festival de Cinema de Vitória. In 2016, she worked on the project titled ‘Preparation for Aerial Exercise, the Desert and the Mountain’ which required her to travel to high landscapes of Uyuni (Bolivia), Pico da Bandeira (Espírito Santo/Minas Gerais, BRA) and Monte Roraima (Roraima, BRA/Santa Helena de Uyarén, VEN). In the same year she completed her second short film titled ‘ÁDITO’. Since 2018 she has been working on the creation of a ‘Book-Performance’, a series of actions devised in response to specific autobiographical texts particularly influenced by personal experiences of racism and misogyny.

Me, We, Women – Online Exhibit Feature

A contemporary gaze into feminist art is both subjective and objective, either from female artists or social collective lenses. Lucy R. Lippard stated in 1980 that feminist art was ‘neither a style nor a movement but instead a value system, a revolutionary strategy, a way of life.” Staring with “ME” (the individual), and “WE” (the community), to “WOMEN” (the entire female as half the population), a sequential contemplation focusing on various perspectives and creativities from female artists worldwide is highlighted. Eleven female artists from different nations and cultural backgrounds bring us the reflection of how contemporary feminist art shapes life and art from diverse angles yet to reach a pluralistic interconnection. This project is a part of the MOM Internship Program with Li Yang.

Trish Morrissey, (born 1967 in Ireland; lives and works in London) graduated in photography at the University of the Arts in London in 2001. Her work mainly relies on photography by simulating a specifically constructed reality, playing on the binary pair: truth/ representation. Trish Morrissey’s photographs become an instrument to criticize and question family unity and its quintessential manifesto, the family portrait that displays similarities, proximities, hierarchies, and inner orders.

”Since 2012 I have been mostly working with archives and collections. I am passionate about stories of women that are often overlooked in history, in favour of male-centered narratives. I am excited by the small details of people and their lives, things that are often universal and ageless. I am drawn to stories of eccentricity and my way of sharing this is to get under the skin of places, and people. I develop and play characters that I hope are authentic and recognisable. They sometimes lie on the border between psychologically disturbing and a little bit funny. I have several projects happening right now, but the biggest one is a survey show opening in Serlachius Museum, Finland in February 2022. This exhibition will includephotographs and films from the last twenty years alongside new work inspired by my studies in the museum’s archive.”Her work is exhibited widely, most recently at Recent exhibitions are Group Shows: ‘Landscape, Portrait: Now and Then’ at Hestercombe Gallery 2021; ‘Who’s Looking at the family now?’ at London Art Fair 2019 and solo show ‘Trish Morrissey: A certain slant of light’ at Francesca Maffeo Gallery, 2018.

SEE OUR GALLERY ONLINE FOR THE FULL EXHIBIT

Her work is in the permanent collection of The Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, The National Media Museum, Bradford and the Wilson Centre for Photography, London

The Genesis of Contemporary Black Feminism – Women’s History Month


The Genesis of Contemporary Black Feminism According to the Combahee River Collective:

The Combahee River Collective was active from 1874-1980. Founded by Barbara Smith, this group of Afrocentric women countered racist, heterosexual, and political oppression. Their statement, part of which is featured below, deconstructs the historical realities of Black women in America. How much has changed? How much is the same? What work continues?

STATEMENT: Before looking at the recent development of Black feminism we would like to affirm that we find our origins in the historical reality of Afro-American women’s continuous life-and-death struggle for survival and liberation. Black women’s extremely negative relationship to the American political system (a system of white male rule) has always been determined by our membership in two oppressed racial and sexual castes. As Angela Davis points out in “Reflections on the Black Woman’s Role in the Community of Slaves,” Black women have always embodied, if only in their physical manifestation, an adversary stance to white male rule and have actively resisted its inroads upon them and their communities in both dramatic and subtle ways. There have always been Black women activists—some known, like Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Frances E. W. Harper, Ida B. Wells Barnett, and Mary Church Terrell, and thousands upon thousands unknown—who have had a shared awareness of how their sexual identity combined with their racial identity to make their whole life situation and the focus of their political struggles unique. Contemporary Black feminism is the outgrowth of countless generations of personal sacrifice, militancy, and work by our mothers and sisters. Read the full statement here [LINK]. Or, go to their website [LINK].

Source: BlackPast, B. (2012, November 16). (1977) The Combahee River Collective Statement. BlackPast.org. https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/combahee-river-collective-statement-1977/

Homepage Photo credit: “A clear definition of ‘radical’, by Combahee River Collective co-founder Barbara Smith, quoted by LA Kauffman in her book Direct Action (Verso, 2017).” by Juha van ‘t Zelfde is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

We Are One Human Family – Women’s History Month

Today, a message from Maya Angelou featuring her poem titled Human Family. This is also a reminder, the Museum of Motherhood is devoted to elucidating the science, art, and history of mothers. We are invested in telling stories from, for, and about, the multicultural family.

HUMAN FAMILY

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

Read more about Maya Angelou’s life and relationship with her mother in her memoir Mom & Me & Mom.


M.A.M.A. 44 Exhibit March 2021: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S WEEK & Art by Alexis Soul-Gray, Poetry by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

Procreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the M.A.M.A . 44th edition of this scholarly discourse. Literature intersects with art to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. What better way to celebrate #InternationalWomensWeek than with Art and Words from around the world!

International Women’s Week starts on the 8th of March and while a day celebrating women has existed in some form for over 100 years it wasn’t until 1911 that a formal International Women’s Day took place in which Austria, Denmark Germany, and Switzerland took part. Since 1975 the UN has recognized International Women’s Day and Week. In 2011 Barack Obama introduced a Women’s History Month in March to coincide with the existing day and extend the celebration of women even further. 
Each year International Women’s Day has a theme; this year that theme is ‘Choose to Challenge”. Here at M.O.M challenge is a key concept; from challenging concepts of femininity and motherhood and even to the idea of what a museum can be.  #JoinMAMA #artandmotherhood

ABOUT M.A.M.A. 44 FEATURE: Alexis Soul-Gray’s practice is concerned with loss, memory, and grief. Speculative questioning about the memorial, memory, and commemoration brings together a conjecture of imagery taken from personal and public archival materials. Through painting, collage, and print the artist defaces and rearranges found images and objects. Soul-Gray explores themes of loss and grief with a particular focus on the trauma caused by the loss of the mother figure, questioning notions of domestic success and the cuteness inherent in memory, she uses destruction and abrasion to physically manipulate and alter found images in order to find new realities, a calm after a storm…a final resting place that cannot be reached. 

I work on canvas, linen, wood and paper. I have recently been drawn to salvaged found paper ephemera such as vintage embroidery transfers, bible pages, knitting patterns, objects of beauty and magazines/books that give advice/ instruction for domestic success. I often work in layers, deliberately interrupting images through overlap/obstruction as an attempt to create a visceral representation of the thought process. Abstraction and figuration hold equal significance. Images are continuously intersecting, abrasive, harmonious, removed…a tangible manifestation of a multi-layered interior state.

I am interested in the stillness found in studio shot images of children and women, floristry, knitting and antiques. Almost like puppets and dolls in play, I take them on a journey of change and exploration. These images were not designed to be used in paintings, their intended use was cheap printed instructional material and quickly forgotten books. Many of the images I work with date from the 1930’s-1980’s, they represent personal ancestry, collective histories, traditions and loss.

BIO: Alexis Soul-Gray is a visual artist based in Devon, UK. Her practice sits predominantly within painting, drawing, and printmaking but also includes assemblage, photography, and film. Alexis studied at Central Saint Martins and Camberwell College of Art has completed the postgraduate year at The Royal Drawing School and later this year will start her MA in Painting at The Royal College of Art after 10 years of primarily caring for her two daughters. Alexis has worked in Arts education for 17 years and currently holds a lecturing role in Devon. She has also worked as a curator, producing 3 large scale art events in unusual settings including an old village post office in rural Oxfordshire, the vaults of an Elizabethan mansion in Epping Forest, and an inner-city folly standing adrift, lost in Birmingham City Centre, built-in memory of the landowner’s deceased wife.

Poetry by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

Mother Song

Had I sky enough, had I sea, I’d pour
that blue back into you, my second hearts.
Each dawn brings a symphony of swallows mud-nested in the eaves. A reckoning:
what dulls can shine out, have you wings and lungs.

In this house of loss and shadow, we mass
the store of what we’ve learned: Even winter-
bare buckeyes will green and bloom out. Hawks
will nest in ribbons of air. The monarch
butterflies will shock our eyes with orange wing.

More about Iris:

Iris Jamahl Dunkle is the author of three poetry collections, including Interrupted Geographies (Trio House Press, 2017). Her biography about Charmian Kittredge London, Jack London’s wife was published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2020. She was the Poet Laureate of Sonoma County from 2016-2018. She teaches at Napa Valley College and is the Poetry Director of the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference.

Birth Through Women’s History Month -WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT-

By: Violet Phillips

(Violet is a remote student intern, crafting literature and book reviews for MOM. In this creative piece, she envisions giving birth for new mother Lelani who must figure things out on her own)

Lelani felt pressure on her pelvis one day. She needed to pee really badly and felt her breath go short. She saw clumps of mucus in the toilet. Suddenly, she realized: her water was breaking. The big moment had arrived. She never thought she would do it all alone, but here she was.

Feeling an ungodly pain in her lower back and abdomen, she was more terrified than she’d ever been in her life. Somehow, despite her panic, she still remembered the list: photo ID, health insurance card, outfit for the next day, outfit for the baby. She called a cab to the hospital. It felt like the longest she’d ever waited for anything in her life, even though it actually couldn’t have been more than 20 minutes.

The driver stepped on the gas. “Sir, I think there’s a faster way you can go,” she sighed, irritated.

“No, ma’am, there’s no faster way,” he said.

Walking into the hospital, she saw a pile of paperwork she had to fill out. Why why why?

Once the nurse examined her and confirmed she was really about to give birth, she changed into a hospital gown.

“Are you doing an epidural or aiming for a natural birth?” The nurse asked.

“What do you think?”

“Epidural?”

“You bet.”

The nurse moved her to the bed. She wondered where her obstetrician was, but was too tense to ask.

Then, she began to feel the intense pain of contractions. She waited for them to end. They didn’t end. They started to get worse. The nurse started pushing her stomach. There was nothing but pain and pushing for hours.

Then, suddenly she heard a baby cry. It felt like magic washing over her.

“Here you go!” The nurse handed over her baby. Holding it in her arms, she wasn’t sure how she felt. Fear? Anticipation?

“When can I go?” She asked.

“A day or two,” the nurse said.

She fell back asleep. The next day was a blur of being handed food and liquids.

Then, she bundled the baby up and got a cab back to her apartment. Ready to enter the new world, all alone-with a new little stranger.

PHOTO CREDIT:

SOURCE: https://www.a3bs.com/noelle-birthing-simulator-with-birthing-and-resuscitation-baby-dark-1017860-w45111d-s550d,p_895_26234.html?utm_source=google&utm_campaign=gmc_feed&utm_medium=shop&gclid=Cj0KCQiAyoeCBhCTARIsAOfpKxjJPGQgkZvV0SMrD-7xZD1-M3u0xyW3krcnmG5OYo9oe-iCWTeTJiYaAsEnEALw_wcB