MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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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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12 Days of Gender Studies – The Students of MC

ABOUT THIS BLOG SERIES:

Martha Joy Rose

The holiday season is upon us. You know the song: The Twelve Days of Christmas. This year we’ve got a little twist.

I’ve been teaching “Codes of Gender” at Manhattan College since August and the students have presented a number of ideas, poems, manifestos, and in-class presentations that explain some of their thoughts and interpretations of the work we’ve been engaged with.

This seems like a pretty good opportunity to wrap up the semester and share some of the students’ inspiration. The content is entirely the students’. Some have included their names and some have remained anonymous.

The important thing is that collectively we have been engaged in deep contemplation about the world we live in. Together we’ve explored language, theory, and the media in order to better understand difference as well as to more thoughtfully navigate our families, friendships, workplace, and deeply held belief systems. Sociology teaches us to expand our perspective and to look more honestly at our social and cultural experiences, breaking down privilege, power, and of course the patriarchy. I hope you enJOY reading these as much as I’ve appreciated working with these incredible young minds.

As the song goes:

Day 2: two turtle doves

Day 3: three French hens

Day 4: four calling birds

Day 5: five gold rings

Day 6: six geese a-laying

Day 7: seven swans a-swimming

Day 8: eight maids a-milking

Day 9: nine ladies dancing

Day 10: 10 lords a-leaping

Day 11: 11 pipers piping

Day 12: 12 drummers drumming

And a partridge in a pear tree!

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By Mario Ynfante

A Manifesta for Men Allies of Feminism in 2018

  1. To create a society where women aren’t seen as inferior, and instead are seen as equal. Eliminating derogatory vocabulary and replacing it with positive terms so that instead of bringing down our women, we push them to the forefront.
  2. To disagree with cultural norms and traditions that promote the patriarchy. Fighting against the way media, specifically movies, tv shows, music, and social media depicts women.
  3. To live in solidarity with women of all races, social class, and genders. Men included must help out with the cause.
  4. To act on our analysis and grievances. Only thinking about what’s wrong and analyzing it won’t change anything. A true activist doesn’t only think about what makes them uncomfortable they act on it.
  5. To not be afraid to speak up when women are being disrespected. Eliminating “locker room” talk because once again it promotes the patriarchy we currently live in.
  6. To educate yourself on what is sexual harassment and what is considered rape. Many of the things you say or do are wrong but they are so widely accepted in this androcentric society that they are ignored.
  7. To fight against double standards. Men are seen as “the man” when they have a lot of sexual partners but on the other hand women are seen as “sluts” if they do the same.
  8. Promoting the liberation of women’s bodies. Women can do what they want with their bodies, dress how they want, and most importantly have the right to choose whether they want to reproduce or not.

# #

By Isabella Bozkent

A Manifesto for a Better Tomorrow :

“In every way, shape, and form, we are at war” and so we must:

  1. Ensure the public is available to proper health care and health education. Regardless of race, class, sexual orientation, or gender.
  2. Make explicit the true nature of what is in the food people eat as well as the true nature of the chemicals in skincare, makeup, and other things absorbed by our bodies.
  3. Liberate those from the social constructs that prohibit them from living prosperous stigma-free lives. In liberating others, we liberate ourselves.
  4. “Pass the Equal Rights Amendment so we can have a constitutional foundation of righteousness and equality upon which future women’s rights conventions will stand.”
  5. Develop a world built off of understanding. To promote and praise curiosity that leads to information consumption. Knowledge is the only way to combat misunderstanding, fear of the “other”, and xenophobia.
  6. Promote the need for better treatment and rights for those who have been oppressed and victimized due to systemic oppression, abusive relationships, or unjust social dynamics. This task must be spearheaded by those with the privilege bestowed upon them from birth. They must recognize their privilege and use it for good as a tool to gain equality.
  7. Emphasize that caring for the environment, is caring for ourselves, and each other. To educate others of the very real issues that surround climate change. How many of these issues will affect the poor and disadvantaged before anyone else. How in many third world countries environmental issues are blamed on women and they are punished and ostracised from communities due to the lack of education and information available to them.
  8. “Work towards a nonviolent art by dedicating ourselves to living nonviolently. In art and life, create flexible and inclusive schemes for living that encompass respect, non-hierarchy, nonviolence, and tolerance. Art making is powerful; and a nonviolent art is a duty. Bodies such as the United Nations can be useful and fair, if: it stops favoring rich nations, it represents Latin America and Africa, not just North America, Europe and Asia, it prohibits the abuse of war in self-defense, veto power is taken away from the most powerful countries, and it enforces labor and environmental laws.” – Manifesto for a Utopian Turn.

Student-made Domestic Violence Awareness Brochure By Alia Flanigan & Mario Ynfante

 Download the PDF: Domestic Violence Brochure

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By Laura O’Neil

My Manifesta

  1. I believe all members of a family who have welcomed a new member of society 
should get paid family leave for six months.
  2. I believe all feminists should be a part of the movement in future years. The voting 
block ideally should be 18- 100, you are never too old to make a difference
  3. I believe boys at a young age should be taught the dangers of toxic masculinity. And 
be encouraged to be emotional, sensitive people.
  4. To put an emphasis on young children in school getting involved in politics. Teach 
kids about different political parties and the foundational beliefs each possesses. 
Change will come from the youth.
  5. To have universal healthcare available for all classes and races, regardless of gender.
  6. To be more vigilant in investigations of sexual assault/ harassment whether it takes 
place, at a university, a workplace, or in the military.
  7. To liberate women of all ages from slut-shaming and bullying. This can be more 
harmful than physical violence to someone’s psyche.
  8. Most importantly, to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

# #

By Victoria Barreto 

My Manifesta

  1. To stop sluts shaming women for the choices they make when men aren’t slut-shamed for their choices.
  2. To stop blaming the victim in rape cases based on what they might have worn or any other way of blaming.
  3. To stop making excuses for boys’ sexist behaviors during adolescence such as “boys will be boys”. We should be teaching our boys to be more fluid and to respect women and other men.
  4. To make equal pay for women.
  5. To put more women in political office.
  6. To stop telling women what to do with their bodies such as telling women they cannot have an abortion or get access to birth control.
  7. Constitutional equality.
  8. Stereotypes against women and men’s attitudes such as the Kavanaugh case as an example.
  9. Affordable care act and fixing women’s health care.
  10. 4 out of five women are sexually trafficked.
  11. To higher more women in the sciences and technology fields.
  12. Maternity leave in the USA is horrible compared to other countries. Paid family leave and childcare: Behind other countries

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Accept Everybody

By Katie Compton

Over the course of my own childhood, there were various advertisements being made on the daily, whether they be about beauty and dieting, or something so simple as shampoo, the women that were showcased in these commercials were PERFECT. There is no other way to describe it but like as such because there was not a single flaw on their body. So, you can imagine the issues that this caused for me growing up, as I believed that that was how women were meant to look, always. In the video that we were asked to watch, it goes through the “behind the scenes” of the making of the advertisement of a woman who looks beautiful from the beginning, is Photoshopped into something that she is most certainly not.

They tweak her body into making it thinner, making her eyes bigger, her nose narrower, her breasts large, but her butt small; I mean the list just goes on and on. However, in comparison to this video, the Dove campaign did one very similar. They started close up to a woman with her natural face, but then as the video goes on, it shows all of the edits being made to her. By the end of the video, similar to the one we watched for class, the image at the end reflected nothing of the woman from the beginning.

Part of the reason I think I experienced such gender fluidity growing up was that I never thought I could compete with a look such as the one that was so frequently displayed everywhere I looked. The biggest issue with it was not that they were making the woman look like another human, but the fact that we, as a society, were forced to believe that this was how she looked all along. Her appearance was completely fabricated, and the issue that is entailed is how much young girls AND boys look to these advertisements thinking that is the only way they can look to be accepted by society.

Something certainly must change in the very near future if we are going to allow ourselves to start accepting our bodies and appearances for what they are. Because the fact of the matter is, you cannot Photoshop yourself when you are walking down the street. That is when you are completely and utterly, YOU. So, we as a society, are going to have to start making some adjustments in our advertising if we are going to make it a more accepting and body positive environment for ALL.

Works Cited:

“Dove Evolution.” YouTube, YouTube, 6 Oct. 2006,           www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

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By Christian Munoz

The name of this poem is

As time goes by, women do not forget that easy

Or

The name of this poem is

Pain, suffering, harassment can’t be wiped out. Instead, it becomes scars

Or

The name of this poem is

Women had to endure unjust behaviors!

Or

The name of this poem is

Women having to endure patriarchy system

Or

The name of this poem is

Men as the main focus, while women hoping one day be able to work

Or

The name of this poem is

How being a man it is considered a privilege within society

Or

The name of this poem is

The fight against sexism continues

Or

The name of this poem is

Thanks to Sojourner Truth, for evolving women standards and to inspire others on keeping the battle going

Or

The name of this poem is

Making the world a better place to live

Or

The name of this poem is

Asking equality among all gender, race and cultural

OR

The name of this poem is

Enough is enough!!

Anonymous

Growing up in a house full of women has allowed me to really embrace my identity as a woman especially being the daughter of two very liberal, lesbian, feminists. I have realized that I am very privileged to have two very educated mothers who have supported me throughout my education and helped me look at the world with a very open heart. I do have to admit that I grew up in some kind of a bubble and I realized that before but it really made me realize that after the conversation we had in class the other day about the high schools we attended.

Growing up in my town it was very common for kids to openly express their affection for the same sex. In fact, it was actually very normal. I don’t even think I can count on my two hands the number of friends I had growing up that were openly bisexual or gay. I can remember the first time I realized that growing up in a town that was so accepting of others was as common as I thought. It was when we had planned to take a vacation to the Outer Banks. We ended up not going due to the enactment of the bathroom law that discriminated against transgendered people. Not only did we want to support a state with such awful laws, but we also did not feel safe going to a state with such policies that stand against the LGBTQ community. After learning about Judith Butler and her theory on gender, I realize how everything in this world is essentially based on male or female. With that said I like Butlers belief that gender is not something one is, it is something one does (Butler).

Each and every single day I continue to learn how privileged I am to be a heterosexual living in a world that is based on heteronormativity. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have a fear of using a public bathroom. Looking at the world through the lens of a symbolic interactionist, I believe that a lot of these stereotypes, inequalities, and injustices are all due to the interactions that people have with society and they are all socially constructed concepts that are easily changeable.

Unlock

By Tiffany Recio 

Who am I?

Can you see me?

Do my curves seduce you?

Does my skin submit me?

Does my bank account show my value?

Does my sexuality make me normal?

Does my faith startle you?

Does my health show my talents?

Does my family intimidate you?

Does my intelligence shock you?

Does my accent alarm you?

Should I like pink?

Should I be silent?

Should I abandon faith?

Should I cover up?

Should I fail math?

Should I lose my accent?

Should I hide my home?

Should I be normal?

No. Nothing is Normal.

You can’t dominate me.

My skin is mine to conquer.

My value isn’t so easy to label.

You can’t shake my faith.

My abilities aren’t my title.

My family is my foundation.

Who cares for your disillusions?

Heteronormativity is archaic.

Sexism is a social disease.

Racism is ignorant.

Genderism is small-minded.

Ableism is cruel. 
Look at yourself, first.

Long Way To Go

By Laura O’Neill

The plight of women has been a long one.

Giving life to men who have no empathy ain’t fun.

The first waves of feminism began in 1820.

But it’s been two hundred years, and we still can’t get equal money.

All women have faced the struggle.

But black women have faced it double.

Sojourner Truth had to plead with her white sisters, to see her as a woman.

Looking back, our history can seem quite inhuman.

The battle is far from won when it comes to binary options
It’s time to throw away all your presumptions.

Radical feminism may seem intense.

But when a man gets paid a $1, Latina women earn just 54 cents.

Heteronormativity can keep people from living their best life.

Most women have big dreams, more than just a wife.

Cis-humans have to make being an ally a priority.

And eventually love and acceptance will be the majority.

What are the consequences of gender norms?

Olivia Warnock writes – Gender norms are perceived behaviors and personality traits surrounding one’s sex. When one acts outside of gender norms within a social setting, others can act out passive aggressiveness or even open hostility. Examples of common gender norms for men are “strong”, “assertive”, and “emotionless”. Common gender norms for women are “sensitive”, “irrational”, and “passive”. People can also assert something called social control which is when one attempts to change the course of the current situation by exerting their own expectations. This includes giving someone a dirty look, replying with a negative remark, earning less money from a job, or losing a promotion. Other discriminatory actions can include excluding individuals or groups from everyday social activities.

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Growing up in a Household Full of Boys

By Melanie Alberto
People always ask me
“What is it like growing up in a household with all boys?”
And I, of course, knew the answer to that.
Growing up in a household full of boys was wild.
We played sports inside the house
Wrestled with each other till we cried
And competed for literally everything
I was the only and youngest girl

But that did not stop me from being one of the boys
I never wore dresses,
Rarely played with dolls and dollhouses
Makeup was nonexistent to me.
I behaved like a boy because I grew up around boys
My father let me dress however I wanted to,
So naturally, I dressed in boy shorts, sneakers, and baggy shirts
It wasn’t until I was in Middle School that I started to see the difference.
Girls my age wore pretty floral dresses,
With flats instead of sneakers and hairpins in their hair
My brothers called them “girly”
And I thought to myself
“Am I not a girl because I’m not girly?”
I felt different because I looked different and acted different
In High School was when I changed
I still played sports and hung around with my brothers
But I dressed differently and
My brothers claimed I acted differently
Which now that I think about it I guess that I did.
It wasn’t that I changed who I was completely
I just welcomed and embraced my “girly” side
I still dressed in baggy clothes whenever I wanted to
Because clothes do not define my gender
Only I can define my gender
No one can.

I Am Black, Black as Night

Victoria Barreto

There, I was black as can be.

Aren’t I a woman too?

Whom should dance and sing,

Like the pale lady’s do?

No, I am black, and have no rights.

I am black, black as night.

I am black I see no light.

Mark of Cain that’s what I have,

My skin gives no privilege.

Instead it takes and takes

For I wish to scream,

“you have no power over me”

But I have to wait for the waves to come.

I have to wait for the first wave,

So, the pale ladies can get the vote,

Then I wait for the second,

So, they can start to work,

My back has scars from the work,

But the pale ladies need equality among pale men.

Then the third wave comes, this is my time.

I only had to wait hundreds of years to catch this wave.

It only took hundreds of years to free my bonds,

It only took blood sweat and tears for them to see,

See my color as good and something to save.

To see my experiences as valid,

To see my children as being worthy of education,

Not immigration.

It only took hundreds of years,

But its because I am black, black as night

And yet still I have no right.

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The Journal of Mother Studies 3rd Edition 2018, Residencies, and More

JOURMS: The Journal of Mother Studies (JourMS) 2018 is currently published online. Special thanks to Candace Lecco for her work as editor and to all our authors and editorial volunteers. Find out more here: LINK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RESIDENCIES AT MOM ART ANNEX 2019: M. Joy Rose has returned to Manhattan College or the spring 2019 semester. We anticipate accepting new residencies at the MOM Art Annex in St. Pete, Florida beginning August 2019-December 2019.

Meanwhile, students of all ages, who are interested in accessing course materials for Sociology of Family curriculum can watch for posts on our teaching website.

M. Joy Rose back to teaching at Manhattan College

 

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Annual Academic MOM Conference, NYC 2019: Rewriting Trauma

REWRITING TRAUMA & VISIBILITY

Motherwork, Pregnancy, and Birth

Manhattan College
Bronx, NY
APRIL 5-6 2019

The MOM Conference 2019 is sponsored by the Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center and the Manhattan College Department of Sociology

Calling all sociologists, women’s, sexuality, and gender scholars, masculinity studies scholars, birth-workers, doctors, maternal psychologists, motherhood and fatherhood scholars, artists, performers: This conference call for papers focuses on uncovering, naming and rewriting traumas of motherwork, pregnancy and birth. We especially aim to make visible those topics related to (dis)abilities and other marginalized positionalities, relying on Patricia Hill Collins’ conceptualization of motherwork as mothering that is designed for the survival and success of the next generation in the context of oppression. We recognize traumas in multiple forms, originating before, during, and after pregnancy and birth and throughout motherhood, contextualized by the intersectional identities of those traumatized. We encourage presenters to unpack the sociocultural domain and the medicalized environment within which traumas often occur, embracing and analyzing meaning-making, as Barbara Katz Rothman and others would have us do, in the areas of maternal health and well-being.

We intend the conference to serve as a site of resistance as we reframe and reconstruct the landscape of embodied trauma within motherwork, pregnancy and birth and the ongoing labor of mothers and caregivers everywhere. We recognize the scale, variance, and duration of trauma and hope to support and empower those who most need it.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

Intersectional identities as the context of motherwork, pregnancy and birth traumas

Motherwork, pregnancy and birthing with (dis-)abilities, illness, and children with special needs

Biomedical and cultural discourses of motherwork, pregnancy, and birth, including issues related to marginalized identities, fertility treatment, gender, and intersex identities
Normative constructions of gender in motherwork, pregnancy and birthing

Child and maternal psychology interventions, alternative therapies, and results

Breastfeeding ambivalences, obstacles, and outcomes

Future wombs, including transplants, artificial constructions, cloning, and surrogacy

Art as healing and activism as visible resistance
Embodied resistance to socially constructed proscriptions and conventions about motherwork, pregnancy, and birth, especially as contextualized within marginalized positionalities

Narratives surrounding:

  • High-risk pregnancies, pregnancy-related illnesses, and birthing complications
  • Cesarean Section, Episiotomy and other Obstetric Violence
  • Stillbirths or Therapeutic Terminations
  • Pregnancy loss, Alternative Therapies, and Healing

Individuals conducting research, making art, working in hospital or alternative birth settings, and presentations by mothers, family members, and students as well as auto-ethnographic perspectives are welcome

All submissions for this conference should be considered for submission to the Journal of Mother Studies (JourMS), an academic, peer-reviewed journal devoted to Mother Studies. You may also submit for the conference only if you wish. Abstracts must include a title and 50-150 words for individual papers, panels, and other submission types (e.g. performance, media, music). Go to MOMmuseum.org and look for the “Conference Submissions” tab or submit a word doc. to info@MOMmuseum.org by Dec. 1

The international MOM Conference is an annual event that features research, scholarship, and creative collaboration in the area of Mother Studies. Each year, the academic committee organizes university experiences that are interdisciplinary and highlight scholarship in the area of reproductive justice, maternal health, feminist theory, gender studies, literature, and the arts. The conference is organized through the Museum Of Motherhood (M.O.M.) and has partnered with multiple institutions throughout the years (2005-present), including Manhattan College, USF Tampa, Marymount Manhattan College, Columbia, ProCreate Project, Mamapalooza, and ARM now renamed MIRCI to name a few.

DOWNLOAD_CFP_MOM_Con_2019_PDF

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M.A.M.A. Weaving the Past with the Present: Saskia Saunders & Martha Joy Rose

About the Artist:

Saskia Saunders creates minimal constructed artworks, from domestic materials such as parchment paper, string and household linens. These are sensitively woven, wrapped and manipulated, highlighting their simple, functional aesthetic and inherent tactile qualities.

Saunders’ work is strongly linked to a sense of place, the home. Her art is an invitation to experience a calm pause, a moment of contemplation in a world of clutter and noise.

From her travels in Japan, she is inspired by the concepts of negative space (Ma) and embracing imperfections (Wabi-sabi). Creating space in each piece for the mind to focus, notice details and the light between.

Training as a weaver at the University of Brighton has greatly influenced Saunders. The boundaries of art and craft blur as she redefines an ancient craft in contemporary art.

In 2017 Saunders exhibited in London: Leftovers, 198 Gallery and A sense of place, Oxo Gallery, New York: Et tu Arte Brute, Andrew Edlin Gallery and completed a residency in

Buckinghamshire: Evolve, Artist Residency in Motherhood. Saunders is currently working with Four Dots Dubai Art Consultancy. Saunders achieved a First Class degree Woven Textiles at the University of Brighton and has worked with woven textile design companies and social enterprises in New York, China and Cambodia.

 

 

Wither the Leaf

By Martha Joy Rose

Published in the Mom Egg Review Volume 16 April, 2018

They sat together by the pool under the Tuscan sky. One was a fading beauty, the other in the bloom of youth. All eyes were on the youthful one, chatty and charming, while the older woman suffered unaccountable bouts of sadness accompanied by tears.

“Cluck, cluck” her friends fussed. But, there was nothing to do. It was just time wafting in the wind, turning the pages, spinning the wheel. They made jokes and told stories, but the woman hummed softly to herself testing the Italian language. The strange low, slow sounds were a vocal affirmation, a commitment to presence. A moan.

Her daughter, who was approaching the age of twenty-three, tossed her long hair about and dove into the pool where the stone foundations of the fifteenth century house met with the terraced descent of fresh lavender and ancient rock. She was a sleek mermaid, splaying her arms above her head and frolicking. Everything about her tingled and shivered. She was buoyant and light. She played while her mother professed a headache and climbed the long stairs to her room where she was overtaken by a bout of melancholia.

The trip from America to Italy, which had been years in the making, was twofold. The woman’s daughter had recently graduated college. This was a celebratory adventure. The fact that they were staying with the woman’s friend, who had been her lover forty years before when the two of them were in college, was a footnote. Each had married someone else but kept a commitment to remain friends.

While everyone flirted and chatted in the company of weekend guests she wondered where all the time had gone and how little of it she had left. She reflected on her youth, her passions and then how she had become a mother. She recalled the labor of childhood when each was the center of the other’s world. She thought how all her children were grown now, and stared vacantly into the horizon. These thoughts caused her to languish while everyone else drank Campari, toasting the future. She could not help but compare her age to the younger ones among them. She felt spent and exhausted, like every experience had already happened and there was no reason to bother with anything new. The sun did not agree with her and neither did the food. She was pale and bloated, rubbing her swollen ankles by the side of her bed while the others soaked up the afternoon sun. She could hear them laughing and she was jealous.

Falling into a long sleep, she awoke and observed the fading afternoon light turning shades of pink across the distant mountains. She could hear movement in the rest of the house on the floors below and began to dress for another arduous dinner where she would drink more than her share of prosecco before passing out into another dull sleep.

           That night they drove to Cortona. After collecting cashmere and leather, they ordered appertivos and toasted their spoils. This was how their time together unfolded, day after day until a week had passed. Then, on one of their trips, the woman caught sight of a tiny shop on the main square in the hilltop village. The store was etched into a cave and was owned by a man whose father and grandfather, were also jewelers. In the window, a beautiful handmade necklace of heavy silver with a gold coin gleamed against a dark velvet display. While the others in her group argued over the quality of leather in the dark bowels of a biker shop she slipped away to try on the necklace. The kindly clerk fussed over the woman describing the style of craftsmanship, it’s age and the story of the coin of Cortona. This was the way she usually fawned over her daughter and the lavished attention felt good.

           She stood looking at herself in the mirror and thanked the girls. Then, she plunked down one hundred and ninety euros for the chain and seventy-seven for the coin. After, the woman stood on the corner holding the coin in her hand. She felt elegant and proud. Her daughter, who was usually loving and attentive was cross on this night and did not approach her as the others waved towards the restaurant where they had planned to meet.

Another dinner of too much wine and heavy meats meant she did not sleep well. This was often the case. She awoke at four A.M. A mixture of emotions lay just below the surface when the time came to say goodbye. They said farewell to her friend’s wife. Goodbye to the large, vertical empty green mountain just beyond the villa’s border. Goodbye to the wild wet fountain, the trees, and the bay leaves. Then, she said goodbye to her friend of forty years, kissing him lightly on the lips. In that moment, they lingered long enough for all the sweetness to come flooding back, transporting her to the place where time stands still– eternally. Taking her daughter’s hand, she bade them hurry so they would not miss their train._

Message from the author: As I share this story with you, the seasons turn from winter, to spring, and soon again to summer. We begin planting now for the productive months to come. This past week, I celebrated my sixty-first birthday. This time has been filled with a sense of vulnerability and awe. It amazes me that I have continued to thrive, even as a LUPUS survivor and renal transplant recipient.  Eighteen years ago, my beautiful girlfriend, Pam Van Hoesen donated her kidney in an act, which literally saved my life. This has allowed me to be here today, writing these words to you. I am blessed with the ability to prioritize time with my family, share love with my friends, as well as to continue the labor of collecting and disseminating knowledge and information about mothers and motherhood at the MOM Art Annex in Florida. I live every day in gratitude, even as a marvel at my body changing through the years. This looks to be an exciting time both personally and professionally. If you are looking for an opportunity for quiet contemplation away from your usual grind and are a scholar, writer, or artist working on material related to women, mothers, or families, please consider applying for a residency opportunity at the Museum of Motherhood in St. Pete. I would love to support your work. [Link]

Bio: Martha Joy Rose is a musician, community organizer, and museum founder. Her work has been published across blogs and academic journals and she has performed with her band Housewives On Prozac on Good Morning America, CNN, and the Oakland Art & Soul Festival to name a few. She is the NOW-NYC recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Award, her Mamapalooza Festival Series has been recognized as “Best in Girl-Power Events” in New York, and her music has appeared on the Billboard Top 100 Dance Charts. She founded the Museum of Motherhood in 2003, created the Motherhood Foundation 501c3 non-profit in 2005, saw it flourish in NYC from 2011-2014, and then pop up at several academic institutions. Her current live/work space in Kenwood St. Petersburg, Florida is devoted to the exploration of mother-labor as performance art. Recent publications include the edited collection, Music of Motherhood with Demeter Press (2018). Exhibitions include the St. Pete Artist Tour (2017, 2018),  M.A.M.A. in collaboration with Procreate Project and The Mom Egg; a monthly digital expression (2016-ongoing), and the “Ima Iyla’a: Art of Motherhood” as part of the 2015 Jerusalem Biennale exhibit.

MarthaJoyRose.com/ Twitter @MarthaJoyRose /Instagram @MarthaJoyRose /Facebook @MarthaJoyRose

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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