MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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MAMA: Issue 38 – Casey Jenkins & Amy Watkins

Issue 38 – October Casey Jenkins – sMother [Performance]

sMother psychological-endurance artwork. Gendered assumptions, judgments and advice – whether meant to protect or to control – bind and confine those perceived to be ‘women of childbearing age’, paralyzing us with fear and shame. Our identities are subdued and mummified in forced acquiescence by community expectations that preserve absurd gender roles.

At nearly 38 and after two miscarriages in the previous year, Casey performed sMother, the final in a trilogy of performances exploring the restrictive nature of gendered expectations on those perceived to be ‘women of child-bearing age’.

Casey knitted daily over the course of a week with yarn drawn from their vagina, linking two common but somewhat conflicting indicators of femininity; the vulva associated with women’s sexuality and reproduction, and knitting associated with elderly asexual women. As Casey knitted, audience members were invited to activate a four-channel, 28 track soundscape of advice and commentary regarding ‘women of child-bearing age’, reflecting the judgments of diverse commentators from lounge-room analysts to Donald Trump. By activating the sound montages, the audience was complicit in mirroring and perpetuating the cacophony of gendered judgments that strengthen patriarchal control.

Casey absorbed the relentless barrage while creating a knitted length that grew over the course of days into a rope that bound and distorted their body – travelling from the popular ‘serene pregnant woman’ fable to something more representative of the lived experience of those perceived to be ‘women of childbearing age’, involving discomfort, fear, frustration and claustrophobia. Each stitch may be seen as a mark of acquiescence to the absurdity of gender expectations – an acquiescence that at first may comfort and shield, but soon distorts, binds and restricts.

Artist Biography: Casey Jenkins (b. 1979, Melbourne, Australia) is currently a Master of Contemporary Art student at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. Jenkins is an installation and durational/community-engagement performance artist. Combining tactility with technology, craft with performance, her work ranges from minimalist solo durational performances to pieces that deliberately toy with (and aim to redefine) power structures via street art and experimental group performance. Recent works have been shown at the Venice International Performance Art Week,  London Science Gallery, and SomoS Art House, Berlin.

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The Mom Egg Review

LEARNING THE HARD WAY

By Amy Watkins

I feel for the door-to-door evangelists,

the Jehovah’s Witnesses, women in long skirts

and blue-gray sweaters, and the pairs

of handsome, clean-cut Mormon boys,

one always more shy than the other, holding

a stack of books and a bicycle helmet

under one arm. They are eager and

lovely, and even I don’t invite them in.

My mother did when I was a child, because

she too felt called to witness. The seventh-day.

The second coming. Everything that made us

strange. She took out her Bible, its leather cover

worn as a pair of work gloves, and listened

to them expound their faith in the kind of earnest voices

movie actors reserve for speeches like, Please believe

me: an asteroid is on a collision course

with Earth. Her response was apologetic,

almost embarrassed; for every verse they quoted,

she knew two. I recognized the doubt soaking in,

the frustration. Still, they squared their shoulders.

No one wants to fall for the smooth sales pitch,

the telemarketer’s call, the good news of the pamphlet

the glassy-eyed woman’s hand. Whatever truth

there is, we want to find it for ourselves

like the ultimate rummage sale bargain.

Believe me, you can’t tell us anything.

Bio: Although she was born in a landlocked state, Amy Watkins grew up in Florida, where one is never more than 70 miles from saltwater. Her poems have appeared in the Apalachee Review, Bayou Magazine and The Glass Coin. She is co-editor and host of the weekly poetry podcast Red Lion Sq.

TWITTER: @AmyWatkinsThe 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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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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MOM Conference 2019 – April 5-6 – The Public is Invited

April 5-6, 2019

FULL CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

Rewriting Trauma & Visibility: Motherwork, Pregnancy, and Birth

Keynote presentations with Khiara M. Bridges and Roksana Badruddoja. See the schedule for more information.

GENERAL INFORMATION

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.

Activities are open to the public at no cost by RSVP only: info@MOMmuseum.org.

On Saturday evening we will induct Sara Ruben into the Motherhood Hall of Fame on behalf of her work which has brought hope and healing to so many.

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M.A.M.A. Charlotte Morrison: A personal account of a developing practice & Kristin Roedell

Years ago, some of my first serious art pieces were about the experiences of giving birth. I was intrigued by what happens when you merge a personal life event with the medical file that accompanied it. Red ink flowed onto thick paper while a crisp pen scribbled medical notes onto a bleached-out body.

Those early pieces are now lost to me – distant both in time and space.

But embodied experiences remain a constant source of inspiration. Yet our perception of the body is far from constant. For our body exists in different realms – shifting between lived experiences and medical observations, defined by culture and dominated by history. And so my visual recordings of the individual flutter and fluctuate – weaving their way across time.

Today, medical quotes and observations of the female body – hammered out on my old type writer – interfere with delicate body parts rendered in glass and porcelain. Tomorrow these pieces may be repositioned and take on new meaning.

Only a short while ago, I collected narratives about menstruation – now I am making work about the menopause. Both were traditionally taboo subjects. And both are decidedly female hormonal experiences. In the private sphere these experiences are often suffered in silence, in the public they are ignored or suppressed – and within the medical community the “unruly” female body continues to cause a dilemma.

Because of this I have taken great pleasure in exhibiting sanitary towels cast in kiln formed glass. With edges sharp as nails and red colours flowing through them, they are the embodiment of lived experiences – at the same time beautiful and disturbing.

Hidden lives and untold stories feature heavily in my work. Displayed on plinths, assembled in cabinets and hung on the wall the silent stories become visual – elevated and treated as objects of beauty; Scars, which were disguised and covered up for years, are now exposed and cast in exquisite pure white porcelain – displayed on plinths. Surgery, health and body image is explored in work about mastectomies. Placed on the wall, it is no longer possible to ignore the body in transition.

The relentless quest to challenge and explore what defines us continues.

Our sense of self – what is it really?

The more private aspects of our lives are often crowded out as culture interferes and medical descriptions intervene – context defines us far more than we realise. And yet throughout time we remain anchored in our body.

But as my body changes so does my body of work.

My journey began with personally experiences of motherhood – interlaced by cultural expectations and medical descriptions. This self-same journey is now taking me towards explorations of ageing. As I am entering another stage in my life I become aware of taboos which are distinctly separate to the ones I stumbled across and fought against as a younger woman. And I am looking forward to exposing some of them – yet again making the unseen visual – and allowing silent voices to be heard. More: www.charlotteartworld.com Instagram:@charlotteartworld

Brief biography

Charlotte has a background in both psychology and fine art. She worked as a counsellor/therapist for more than 16 years and this experience echoes through her visual work. She has an MA in printmaking from ARU and has done post-graduate studies in glass at Central Saint Martins.

She exhibits regularly in the UK and showed in an international glass exhibition in Denmark in 2014. In recent years she has undertaken art residencies at local institutions, and she has worked in collaboration with a variety of scientists from Cambridge on short projects combining art and science.

A long-term collaboration with another artist has led to several exhibitions exploring the lives of Everyday Women.

Artworks

My work is firmly anchored in physical experiences – of who we are and what we may become. It includes pieces about conception, breastfeeding, surgery, menstruation and the menopause. Medical images become embodied, personal and medical narratives fuse together – text and images collide.

I write text pieces about menstruation and poems about the menopause. I write about body image and make interactive books. All of which informs my visual practice and sits alongside it.

List of works

But it’s not an Illness

Mooncups made in stained porcelain, elevated and paraded on a Perspex “plinth”, intercepted by text pieces based on menstrual experiences. 

Hidden

Wrappers with typewritten text, alongside two heavily stained porcelain sanitary towels. Seen through a layer of sanitary towels cast in glass. Sharp glass edges and fragile materials echo embodied experiences in this “Menstrual Cabinet” display.

Not in Public

Breastfeeding explored.

Nipple shields made in shades of coloured glass are paraded in an old cutlery tray that used to hold precious silver pieces. Torn between opposing messages, cultural expectations, and reality – what is a woman to do?

Photogram foetus; Make Believe

Hovering between real and imagined, a kiln formed glass object has been transformed into an artificial image resembling a medical scan. It questions our relationship with medical images and the emotional attachment we often invest in them.

Medical image Embodied

Foetal representations in glass – transparent yet present as if a medical image has taken form. Placenta and foetus made in kiln formed glass – inspired by medical images.

Menopause Musings

A discarded pile of personal narratives related to the menopause contain a myriad of hidden, and often contradicting, stories. Set in torn earthenware, they are a fusion between lived experiences and societal attitudes to the menopausal woman. The individual statements were collected online and in person. This is an ongoing project.

It’s all About the Ovaries

Women’s identity and place in society has historically been linked to ovarian activity.

An anatomical uterus reproduced in precious glass has sharp and painful edges. It is offset by medical quotes about the menopause. The text piece which contains historical and contemporary sources is both brutally ignorant and succinctly empathic. It has been typewritten onto frail, perishable tissue paper – and as such it appears far less permanent than the ovary itself.

The Ages of Woman

Physical transformation, change and variety is expressed through form, colour and text. Three ceramic pieces inspired by internal scans and medical descriptions of the uterus emphasise how different one organ can appear. During the process of making, words such as reduced, dilated, bleeding, torn, constructed, repaired and contracted came to mind.

 

Night Blue

From Mom Egg Review vol. 12 (2014) 
by Kristin Roedell

Blood in the bath slips

away from a woman

whose monthly seeping

is bound to the moon

with a crimson ribbon.

 

Her child, astray,

is a pause, a pearl,

a drop of rain.

Wings whirring,

its soul leaves with a cloud

of dragonflies beyond

the Cedar River.

 

The cistern alongside the house

is full of rain. She drinks a ladle full

to take back what is

 

lost. Her husband’s breathing

colors the night blue.

Herself astray, she curls

beneath his sleeping arm.

 

In the morning she tells him no

more than the eddy at the edge

of the river, or the silent

circling trout.

Kristin Roedell is the author of Seeing in the Dark (Tomato Can Press), and Girls with Gardenias, (Flutter Press). Her work has been published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Switched on Gutenberg, and CHEST. She is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web nominee, winner of NISA’s 11th Annual Open Minds Quarterly Poetry Contest, and a finalist in the 2103 Crab Creek Review poetry contest. http://cicadas-sing.ucoz.com/

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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MAMA 31: Mother’s Diary, Mothertime ‘Let Down’ & MOM EGG Review Reading in NYC [LINK]

Marketa Senkyrik
mother’s diary (for Kaya)
2017-2018
hand-bound diary / drawings – fine-liner, watercolour crayons, crayons

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My mum has plenty of photo albums – one from each holiday, one from each Christmas… When I am visiting my parents, we often look at the photos together.
I like to draw diaries. They are a bit like photo albums – they bring back memories.
This is a very special one.
It’s for Kaya.
To remind her how it was when she was growing inside me, passing through my body to this world and living as one with me in the very beginning of life
(as those things usually get forgotten with time).
About the artist:
Czech born and a world citizen, living and working in London since 2013. Marketa studied book-design in Ostrava in the Czech Republic and fine arts in Clermont-Ferrand in France before she moved to London and started to work as a bookbinder. She is currently enjoying some time off with her daughter, co-runs an independent non-profit gallery 139artspace and is developing her own and collaborative artistic projects.

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Robin Silbergleid

From ‘Mother Time’: Let Down in The Mom Egg Review

All these dark days and white nights, every two hours, the milk lets down. She feels the rhythm in her breasts: suck, suck, swallow. Sometimes it comes too fast, pools the side of his mouth, collects in the fat folds of his chin. Sometimes he falls asleep there, with the nipple in his mouth.

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A diaper change. An attempt at a nap. At the hospital they said to record it all. Left breast, right breast, urine output, stool. 5 ml pumped milk offered via silver spoon. He’s so small, fetal with wrinkled skin, he can’t stay awake; she rubs an ice cube against his foot. He wakes cold, angry: sucks.

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When babies are this small it is possible to weigh them before and after a feed and know precisely how much milk they have taken in. They weigh him at the hospital daily and then twenty-four hours later, then forty-eight, then wait a whole week. When she brings him home, he is four pounds eight ounces, his wrist the size of her thumb. He looks like a doll in his car seat; even the preemie clothes don’t fit.

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In the news, she reads that a baby died of dehydration because the mother didn’t know she wasn’t supplying enough milk; she said she fed her child around the clock and he screamed when taken from the breast.

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In this never-ending now, the mother puts the baby to her breast. He sucks, swallows. The present is a mouthful of milk. In his belly, proteins break down to digest. Nutrients travel his blood stream: calcium, DHA, Vitamin D. Their bodies share time and space, linked by mother’s milk the way they were once linked by the placenta. Infants who are breastfed adjust their body temperature and heart rate according to their mothers’. Their body clocks sync: mother time. Her body thins while he grows.

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Another check mark on the log: wet diaper, dirty diaper, feed. +

If the baby sleeps: dishes. If the baby sleeps: diapers. If the baby sleeps: email. If the baby sleeps: blog post. If the baby sleeps: bathtub. If the baby sleeps: laundry. If the baby refuses: rock him. If the baby refuses: swaddle him, swing him, snuggle him. If the baby refuses: try the crib, the car seat, the bed with you beside him. Give him a new diaper. Give him your left breast. Give him your right. Count the hours. Count the hours. Count the hours.

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If there are 60 minutes in an hour and 168 hours in a week, 52 weeks in a year, how many minutes of infancy, of toddlerhood? How many spent in the rocking chair, or pacing with a baby strapped to the chest, how many in the pediatrician’s waiting room, washing the spare parts of a breast pump, the innards of baby bottles? How many on the basic tasks of feeding, diapering, bathing? How many getting to and from, pushing a stroller up a hill? She’s walked when she needed to drink, walked when she needed to pee. Her legs and arms are spindly. Somehow, minutes pass; somehow, she has become mother. Her breasts swell and spurt; she feels the milk let down as the baby wakes, hungry.

Robin Silbergleid is the author of Texas Girl and The Baby Book. When she’s not teaching or writing, you might find her puttering in her kitchen; her kids eat a lot of banana muffins.

SPECIAL MOM EGG REVIEW READING ON JUNE 2nd in New York!

Sixteen Already?

We’re excited to be celebrating our 16th year of publication with a reading at Poets House featuring contributors to MER Vol. 16: Mothers Work/ Mothers Play. We couldn’t have gotten to this point without the support of many people. Thank you to our editors, editorial readers, volunteers and contributors for helping us publish the finest writing about motherhood. Especially, thank you to you, our readers! We wouldn’t be here without your support. We hope to continue presenting fine work for years to come.

We’d love it if you were able to come and celebrate with us on June 2nd. Ticket link is here.

Looking forward to a fabulous event!

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