MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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M.A.M.A. 37- Clipping the Church and a Measure of Grace

Art by Tereza Buskova – ‘Clipping the Church’

In many cultures, even today, new mothers and their infants are subject to a period of physical seclusion or confinement from the rest of the world. During this time, the support of relatives and the local community plays a vital role in sustaining the family by caring for the older children, providing food and completing chores typically carried out by the mother herself. It is hard to imagine now that things were not so different for the generation of our own great-grandmothers.

No longer restricted by this custom, women today enjoy the benefits of improved healthcare, education and childcare options, which grant them greater freedom than ever before. Yet the stigma and judgment that come with pregnancy and early motherhood linger, whereas support of the local community has all but disappeared over time. Today’s society too often adopts a patronizing, utilitarian attitude which blinds it to the particular needs of parents and families. As a consequence, many new mothers experience feelings of loneliness and isolation from their social networks, unknown to them before. Some feel actively ostracised and judged when they should be encouraged and cherished.

Clipping the Church is a project based on an old English tradition in which parishioners ‘clip’ their local place of worship with hands and bodies and sing songs of a celebratory nature. The overarching aspect of this custom is inclusiveness and Buskova married it with the representation of motherhood expressed by the act of baking and sharing baked goods with family, friends and anonymous members of the community.

Dressed in traditional Czech outfits, ornate with sensuous red ribbons and elaborate baked accessories, two women lead a procession via Erdington’s High Street. Their white skirts are decorated with flowery patterns and bunched around their hips, emphasizing the connection with nature and its fertility.  The work subtly harks back to the history of Erdington, which remained a rural area until recent times. Accompanied by two young girls and followed by a simple wooden frame made of celestial crust (sugary pastries based on an old Czech recipe) topped by a small figurine of Virgin Mary and carried on men’s shoulders, the procession was joined by a multinational crowd, old and young. All precincts vanished for the duration of the performance and the lively chatting was underscored by accompanying cello music performed by Bela Emerson, resulting in a festive atmosphere that resonated within the surroundings.

One of the most moving and symbolically saturated moments of the procession took place upon its arrival at St Barnabas Church’s gate. There, Frieda Evans, the parish priest and the artist invited the crowd to ‘clip’ the church. Despite its overarching religious connotations, the act of forming a circle around the church added a universal dimension to this Christian custom. The church, decorated all the way around with sourdough bread in elaborate shapes hanging on red ribbons from the building’s façade, echoed the human bonds created around the church. Prepared by Buskova and the community members, this simple bake became a gesture of kindness and generosity. With the act of sharing and consuming the celestial crust, ‘Clipping the Church’ was finalized. The custom was reinvented, becoming not English, not Czech, but an inclusive community act.

Image credits: 

Erdingtonia Series, Tereza Buskova 2016
Image Size 21×15 cm
Archival inkjet print with gold screenprint overlays
Edition number 20 + 4AP’s

More about the artists: 

Tereza Buskova (b.1978, Prague) completed her Fine Art Printmaking MA at the Royal College of Art in 2007. Her intuitive practices capture and renew Czech folk traditions through a combination of film making, screen printing and performance. Buskova’s work has been exhibited at Rituals, David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2008);  A Tradition I Do Not Mean To Break, Zabludowicz Collection, London (2009);  Rituals Are Tellers Of Us, Newlyn Art Gallery, UK ( 2013); and Reality Czech: the Czech Avant-Garde, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2015. She has exhibited, performed and lectured in a broad range of different spaces including Lincoln’s Chambers Farm Wood (2010), Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo (2014), and Erdington High Street, UK (2016).

The Mom Egg Review – Words
Measure of Grace
by Caitlin Grace McDonnell

The longest person’s eyelashes were ten inches,
or maybe six. I think 8. She lived in China,
my daughter tells me, who is nine, like the youngest soccer coach, in Barcelona, which,
she says, is the best. The length of your integrity
is directly correlated to your forearm in prayer.
If you want to be seen as a woman, wear a string
of pearls. If you want to be seen as everything,
make yourself scarce. Math is comforting, my
daughter says, because the answers are clear.
Meanwhile, the length of time between school
shootings decreases at a rate comparable
to the disappearance of the words “climate change”
from government documents. Or the disappearance
of ice in the Arctic sea, or honeybees from warm
habitats. Yesterday, Sudan, the last Northern White
Rhino was put down in Kenya. The buds that bloom
beneath my daughter’s breasts are harder than
I remember on my own body, my own breasts,
whose alveoli no longer make milk. If you squint
at two women, they can almost be one.

Caitlin Grace McDonnell was a New York Times Poetry Fellow at NYU, where she received her MFA. She has published a chapbook, Dreaming the Tree (belladonna books, 2003) and a book, Looking for Small Animals (Nauset Press, 2012). Her poems, essays and book reviews have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including Salon, Washington Square, Chronogram and more. She teaches writing in Brooklyn, NY, where she lives with daughter, Kaya Hope.

MAMA_Logo_2015

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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News From Around the World with MoM Partners in ART

Ruchika Wason Singh  
Visual Artist- Independent Researcher

Ruchika is the founder of A.M.M.A.A., Asia’s first platform for Mother Artists. She is a visiting professor at Ashoka University in Sonipat, India. We are sharing the Book of Drawing Marathon here in PDF Format. Please go to Ruchika’s website to find out more:

Ruchika Wason Singh

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Also, the Procreate Project in England is proud to present a group exhibition featuring twenty short-listed artists of the Mother Art Prize 2018, the only international prize for self-identifying women and non-binary visual artists with caring responsibilities. The exhibition at Mimosa House, London will be curated by independent curator Marcelle Joseph, Zabludowicz Collection director Elizabeth Neilson, and Whitechapel Gallery curator Laura Smith. Find out more at Procreate Project online.
Mimosa House
12 Princes Street
London W1B 2LL

Events are May 3- May 16th

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The Mom Egg Review is hosting the MER launch at Poet’s House on May 18th from 4-6 PM in New York City, NY. Link for more information is here.

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M.A.M.A. with ProCreate Project and Csilla Klenyanszki

Csilla Klenyanszki was born in 1986 in Budapest, Hungary. She completed her BA Photography at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in 2012. In 2014 she participated at SeMa Nanji Artist in Residency by the Seoul Museum of Art at Seoul, South Korea. 

​After becoming a mother in 2015, Csilla has founded Mothers in Arts Residency in 2016. Mothers in Arts Residency (www.mothersinarts.com).

​Csilla’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She has recently won the Still life prize at the 33rd Festival International de Mode & de Photographie in Hyères, France and her first (dummy) book “Pillars of home” is shortlisted for Unseen Dummy Award 2018.

“A search for balance with a problem-solving attitude characterizes my work. Within my current practice, I carefully examine and deconstruct personal – but universally known – challenges such as parenthood, gender, and the malleability of self-identity through the passage of time. Works, such as “Pillars of home”, “to make time”, “House/hold” or the “Mothers in Arts Residency” aim to give solutions that range from the practical to the absurd.

Although my approach is analytic, the nature of the work is highly playful and experimental. To give a new perspective I often play with the borders of nonsense with a constant attraction to physical and mental tension.”

house

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hold

“House/hold” is part of a research project on women’s position in western society. It examines the evolution of gender equality in various subjects.“House/ hold” investigates the housework gap and its consequences while it provides an ironical solution for women: a 30-minute yoga session combined with domestic chores.

The session transforms the house into a space for meditation using domestic objects as its basic elements. Housework is being transformed into illumination: the repetitive act of house making becomes not just a physical but also a mental and spiritual act where women and their household objects become entangled. “House/hold” is a guide for domestic meditation.

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Csilla Klenyanszki

Since the 1960s there have been lots of achievements in the path to gender equality in western society: The gender wage gap narrowed: In 1979, women working full time earned 62 percent of what men earned; in 2014, women’s earnings were 83 percent of men’s1. The number of women in the labor force with a college degree tripled: from 11.2 percent to 40.0 percent2. Woman don’t have to choose between a career and having children: while in the 1950s only 17 percent of mothers were in the labor force, in 2005 more then 60 percent of mothers with preschoolers had a paid job and 75 percent of mothers with school-aged children were working3. And yet, certain things didn’t change that much.

Due to industrialization and the proliferation of domestic appliances the amount of household chores done by women has dropped. On the other hand, the gap in housework distribution between men and women didn’t shrink that much and even worse since the 1990s it has been shrinking at a slower pace.

In the Netherlands, according to the Dutch Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau (SCP)4 women spend on an average 9 hours more on housework than men.

In households with children this gap is even bigger: According to SCP, Dutch mothers spend1 an average of 20,6 hours a week fulfilling domestic chores and 4,4 hours on childcare and mothers with children under the age of 3 years spend 18 hours a week on childcare and 20,6 hours on domestic chores: 15 hours more than men. According to The Second Shift written by Arlie Hochschild, mothers do at least a month unpaid work more in a year than fathers.

One of the consequences of this housework gap is that women have access to less leisure-time than men simply because they spend more time in unpaid work such as domestic chores and childcare. According to the ONS5 women spend 5 hours less on leisure than a man on a weekly basis. The survey has also found that time spent on leisure has risen for men and dropped for women since 2000.

1 https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/womens-databook/archive/women-in-the-labor-force-a-databook-2015.pdf 2 https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/womens-databook/archive/women-in-the-labor-force-a-databook-2015.pdf 3 https://stats.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2007/02/art2full.pdf
4 https://www.scp.nl/Publicaties/Alle_publicaties/Publicaties_2013/Met_het_oog_op_de_tijd

5 https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/satelliteaccounts/articles/leisuretimeintheuk/2015

MAMA_Logo_2015

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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Diversifying Visibility to Decrease Mortality Rates

The American Medical Association says that women of color are 2- 6 times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than white woman depending on where they live. There are many factors that can contribute to this disproportionality, including quality of prenatal delivery and postpartum care. This mortality rate has significant detrimental effects on the black community as countless mothers are lost to this vicious cycle.

Chinelle Rojas, Dear Little One Birth Photography

Likewise, economically disadvantaged women are less likely to receive quality healthcare and are thus also less likely to receive prenatal care. This leaves black mothers more likely than white mothers to have hypertension, blood disorders, and other medical conditions that complicate their pregnancies. A recent article by USA Today explores the surprisingly high rates of hospitals blaming mothers’ preexisting conditions for high maternal mortality rates among women of color, especially black women. Before USA Today conducted a study and critically examined these shocking maternal mortality rates, these numbers have been overlooked because hospitals are allowed to keep this information private. By keeping this information away from the public, many hospitals have been excusing their poor outcomes by blaming the health of the mother.

Apart from the legal actions that can be taken to decrease mortality rates of women of color, there are organizations and individuals who, through means of advocacy, let this information come to the light and make a conscious effort to put a stop to it. Employing advocacy through visibility, Kimberly Seals Allers, is an international speaker, author, and the founder and organizer of Black Breastfeeding Week among other things. Kimberly is on a mission to “shift the paradigm, shift the discourse, shift the infrastructure, and shift the experience of womankind and motherhood for all”.

In the Tampa Bay area, Chinelle Rojas is working hard to shift the narrative. Chinelle is the birth photographer behind Dear Little One Birth Photography and is the founder of The Melanated Birth, in which she uses photography to represent women of color in birth. She believes that photography is a powerful tool, especially when u towards a powerful cause. Chinelle has observed the lack of diversity in the birth photography community and is taking steps towards solving this problem. She advocates that ultimately visibility can be an important step in reducing mortality rates for women. Photographing the births of women of color outside a hospital setting increases awareness of different birth options available apart from the standard hospital epidural birth. She is hoping to spread a message about the possibility of giving birth in alternative settings. She argues that many mothers-to-be, only know of other women who gave birth in a hospital. Seeing photographs of black women giving birth with the help of doulas and midwives in a comfortable setting can be the start of another woman’s successful journey into motherhood.

Chinelle Rojas, Dear Little One Birth Photography

“‘Imagine a world where our little pebble of documenting births can make waves on the mortality rate of mothers across the country or the world.’” –Chinelle Rojas

http://www.tampabirthphotographer.com/

http://themelanatedbirth.com/

Additional Resources:

http://blackbreastfeedingweek.org

http://www.kimberlysealsallers.com

Article sources:

American Medical Association. State-specific maternal mortality among black and white women: United States, 1987–1996. The Journal of the American Medical Association. 1999;282(13):1220–1222.

Young, Alison, et al. “Hospitals Blame Moms When Childbirth Goes Wrong. Secret Data Suggest It’s Not That Simple.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 9 Mar. 2019, http://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/deadly-deliveries/2019/03/07/maternal-death-rates-secret-hospital-safety-records-childbirth-deaths/2953224002/.

This article was researched and made possible by Vana Madhu as part of a service-learning internship with USF. Read more below or click the image to find out more about our student authors:

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M.A.M.A. 35 – Mothers Pride with Natalie Ramus and Katie Manning

Natalie Ramus: Artist statement

With my exploration of the materiality of the body, I attempt to connect with the innately performative body in view of it’s visceral, abject qualities. Through the re-presentation of bodily materials (such as hair or skin), that have universal familiarity through subjective experience, I am interested in how the gap between viewer and artwork or artist can be bridged; the viewer becomes hyper-aware of their own body, therefore having an empathetic, perceived physical experience. I often use my body within my practice as a way of reclaiming space and time. This reclamation is motivated by my desire to challenge, illuminate and confront the expectations of women to exist within a restrictive framework of socially expected behavior in a patriarchal society. I am fascinated with the public-private and appropriate-inappropriate dichotomy that surrounds discussions in relation to the body. My questioning is driven by assumed acceptable modes of behavior in society, specifically when discussing the concept of the female in public space.

As a mother, I feel much conflict between the label of mother and how I feel as a mother, artist, feminist, etc. The notion of what qualities society thinks makes a ‘good’ mother is problematic and I wonder how the role is performed on a day to day basis. Through the juxtaposition of the immediacy of the body as battery of memory, as site and material, and domestic, seemingly nostalgic, memory-imbued objects which often carry immersive qualities through scent, (such as bread, milk or soap) I am interested in how time and memory become elastic; and how meaning is an inherently subjective perspective.

Credit Jassy Earl – Mothers Pride

Artist Bio
Natalie Ramus is a multidisciplinary artist based in the Welsh borders. Using her body as material to explore public/private dichotomies produced by societal conventions of the appropriate and inappropriate, Natalie seeks to dismantle and illuminate, challenge and provoke that which she faces as a female with a performative, visceral, abject body. Natalie’s practice was seeded in a fine art background and as her practice evolved it has become increasingly action based; concerned with the notion of installation. Natalie has performed in London, Cardiff, and Manchester and has exhibited works throughout the UK, most recently at MAC Birmingham. She graduated from Master of Fine Art at Cardiff School of Art and Design with distinction in 2016.
Instagram: natalie.ramus.artist
Twitter: @nat_ramus
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Mothers Pride
Mothers Pride is a durational performance. It is a space which, like the body itself, is autonomous. Evolving over a period of nine hours it becomes a site of meditation through action. It considers the maternal female within public space. As a mother, I feel much conflict between the label of mother- what society perceives that to be, and how I feel as a mother, artist, feminist, etc. The notion of what qualities society thinks makes a ‘good’ mother is problematic and I wonder how the role is performed on a day to day basis. I am asking myself- where do my performance of the label of mother end and my true embodiment of being a mother begin? Using Mothers Pride bread and milk, materials evocative of comfort and a nostalgic memory of happy nuclear families that never really existed, I will reclaim space. I will reclaim my right to define my own borders, my own edges, my own limits and ultimately I will move closer to understanding what these are/where they lie.
Materials: 350 loaves Mothers Pride Bread, 120L Milk, 10m Red Shibari Rope, Mop, Buckets x 5.
9-hour performance.
Performed at Buzzcut Festival, Glasgow, 2017

Credit Julia Bauer – Mothers Pride

My practice is predominantly concerned with using the body as material to explore both the physical and psychological boundaries associated with both the body and gender. http://www.natalieramus.com

Which Way Do You Want to Go?
By Katie Manning

I ask this question more than you might think, mustering my best Muppet voice every time. And now my 4-year-old watches Labyrinth as I did at his age, and I am becoming you: shuffling around the kitchen in the same style of open-toed house slippers that you always wore, baking chocolate rolls or biscuits. Yes, which way? The blue hands insist on an answer. Sometimes I look down at my hands and see yours kneading the dough.
I would choose this if I had a choice.

Originally published in Mom Egg Review vol. 16

Katie Manning is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Whale Road Review and an Associate Professor of Writing at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. She is the author of Tasty Other, which won the 2016 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, and four chapbooks, including The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman. Her poems have appeared in Fairy Tale Review, New Letters, Poet Lore, Verse Daily, and many journals and anthologies. Find her online at http://www.katiemanningpoet.com

Credit Beth Chalmers – Mothers Pride

MAMA_Logo_2015

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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The End & The Beginning, Gallery Show with Sarah Irvin, NYC

Sarah Irvin, mother-artist, curator, and founder of the Artist/Parent Index, is part of a two-person show titled “The End & The Beginning” on birth and death, January 11th- February 17th at Massey Klein Gallery in New York City.
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The show features a 2400+ page sculptural book/card catalog that documents every time Irvin breastfed. Details are here. See more details in the Artnet’s- do not to miss list.
Massey Klein 124 Forsyth Street New York, NY 10002 masseyklein.com