MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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OXYTOCIN – Birthing the world: A Symposium On M/otherhood [LINK]

EVENT INFORMATION
Royal College of Art, London – 3rd June 2017
Oxytocin is a one-day symposium and programme of performances about mothers, mother art, maternal health & wellbeing.Supported by LADA and under the umbrella of theProCreate Project, the event is curated together with Dyana Gravina form the Procreate Project, Martha Joy Rose from the Museum of Motherhood (USA), Laura Godfrey-Isaacs, artist, midwife and founder of Home Live Art, Sara Paiola, researcher in Law and Human Rights from the School of Law, Birkbeck University and Sarah Dufayard, artist and producer.Oxytocin is an international research and community event focused on mothers and carers. The panels will analyse current critical practices pushing for new strategies aimed at increasing the visibility and representation of women and mothers in society.The symposium will highlight new ideas whereby infrastructures and creative programs can support and facilitate healthy families thus challenging attitudes towards motherhood, female sexuality, birth, depression and human rights. Oxytocin will encourage conversation and exchange between medical, academic and art sectors with the aim to facilitate collaborations between them and increase awareness on women’s rights, mental, emotional and physical needs during pregnancy, labour and postnatal adaptation.The event opens a community discussion aimed at spotlighting the connection between much-needed support for mothers and new approaches that are designed to encourage mothers’ and childrens’ optimum health, professional and artistic development, ongoing education, and continuing connection.The event will consist of panel discussions lead by three sectors (Artists & Academy, Midwifery, Mental Health and human rights) fused with a day programme of performances, installations and live art.
Contact:
Email info@procreateproject.com
Website:  https://www.oxytocinbirthingtheworld.co.uk 

Special Panel: Saturday, June 3rd 10:30AM Royal College of Art

Making Mother Studies Matter: Academics Advocate Fiercely for Art, Maternal Health, and a Lasting Legacy
The self-identified Mother Movement started roughly 20 years ago. In its early years, American bands began singing about motherhood while Canadian scholars began writing about it. The year was 1997. Roughly eight years before that, a few scholars published books examining the subject of motherhood. Sarah Ruddick wrote Maternal Thinking. Barbara Katz Rothman wrote Recreating Motherhood, and these Western works were preceded by Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born. The texts examined a society based on patriarchal constructions that constrained and oppressed women who were mothers, as well as their offspring.
It has been said that in order to change the future we must understand the past. Likewise, by studying the rising wave of mother-identity-art-making and scholarly texts, this panel aims to explore the legitimacy of mother studies, advocate for it to be levied within academic institutions, and share some of the ways current academics and artists are championing this legacy for future generations.

Martha Joy Rose: Martha Joy Rose is a musician, concert promoter, museum founder, and fine artist. 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. In 2015, she received a Masters in Mother Studies from CUNY, The Graduate Center of New York. This is believed to be the first individualized MALS Degree in this specialty. She then taught Sociology of Family at Manhattan College before moving to her current live/work space in Kenwood St. Petersburg, Florida, which is devoted to the exploration of mother-labor as performance art. She is a contributing author the The Encyclopedia of Motherhood (Sage Press, 2011), The Twentieth Century Motherhood Movement (Demeter Press, 2011), New Maternalisms (Demeter Press, 2015), and the forthcoming book, Music of Motherhood (Demeter Press, 2017).

Sarah Black -In 2016 a presentation by Sarah Black called “Mother As Curator” at the Annual Academic M.O.M. Conference described her home environment as a video, art, installation, and inter-generational family experience. Her treatise declared that as an artist, she “blurs the boundaries of art, and the personal, family and audience, narrative and auto-biographic practices.” She states that as a “performance maker, she explores the home as both a physical and a metaphysical structure to house the work.” In this way, spaces are informed and co-created by those who participate in its interiors, but similarly, its interiors also hold a template for studying the things it contains from a distance.

Paula Chambers – Paula Chambers has exhibited widely, with a back catalogue of solo shows including most recently “Transcendental Housework” at Stockport Art Gallery, and “Domestic Pirate” at Show Space, London. Paula studied under Griselda Pollock at the University of Leeds for the MA Feminist History, Theory, Criticism and Practice in the Visual Arts. Paula is Principal Lecturer (Sculpture) on BA Fine Art, at Leeds College of Art. She is undertaking a practice‐led PhD at Middlesex University.

Rosiland Howell – Rosalind Howell is a Registered Dance Movement Psychotherapist with the Association of Dance Movement Psychotherapy UK (ADMPUK) with a particular interest in Maternal Subjectivity and Perinatal Mental Health. Her recent publications include: Writing Maternal Ambivalence (and how we love to hate it). MaMSIE.org/blog 2016 A Chorus, a Gaggle, or a Consternation of Mothers. Mommuseum.org 2015 The Loneliness of Parenting Decisions. Juno Parenting Magazine 2014, Love and Hate in Childbirth. MaMSIE.org/blog 2015.

Roberta Garrett – Roberta Garrett is a senior lecturer in the School of Arts and Digital Industries at the University of East London. She has published widely on gender representation in film and literature. She is the author of Postmodern Chick-Flicks: The Return of the Woman’s Film (Palgrave, 2007). Other publications include ‘Female Fantasy and Post-Feminist Politics in Nora Ephron’s Screenplays’ Journal of Screenwriting, 2011, and the forthcoming ‘Gendering the Post 9/11 Movie: Love, Loss and Regeneration in Julie and Julia’, in Mary Harrod (ed.) Women and Genre (University of Illinois Press, 2016). She is currently working on popular representations of the neo-liberal family in literature and film, and has published: ‘Novels and Children: “Mum’s Lit” and the Public Mother/Author’, Journal of Maternal Studies, 2013; and ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin: The Monstrous Child as Feminist and Anti-American Allegory’, in Peter Childs, Sebastian Groes and Claire Colbrook (eds.) Women’s Writing Post 9/11 (Lexington Press, 2014). Her essay, ‘ Cavorting in the Ruins? Truth, Myth and Resistance in Contemporary Mumoirs’, appears in Roberta Garrett, Tracey Jensen and Angela Voela (eds.) We Need to Talk about Family: Essays on Neoliberalism, The Family and Popular Culture (Cambridge Scholars, forthcoming 2016). She is also writing a monograph entitled Writing the Modern Family: Neoliberalism and Representation of Parenting in Contemporary Novels and Memoirs.

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MAMA- Out of the Frying Pan; Into the Physical World [CLICK]

The ProCreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 17th edition of 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 academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the every day: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA

OUT OF THE FRYING PAN: Beth Grossman -Seven frying pans are hung from men’s belts. Text from The Total Woman, written by Marabel Morgan in 1970 as a response to the feminist movement, is sandblasted into round mirrors stuck in the pan. As viewers read the text, they will see themselves in the mirrors. I ask them to take a look at how much has changed and improved as a result of feminism, and to consider how much remains the same within the male/female relationship. [Link to Procreate Beth Grossman]

ARTIST STATEMENT: In the United States, mothers and children are marginalized, even though we represent a large consumer market. Our leadership work as mothers is undervalued and unpaid. Artists are often are treated similarly. We have held onto our visions as children do, insist on speaking our minds and do the work we love. Our work as artists is often not well compensated in comparison to other commercial markets of similar size and scope.

Female art students are often told in art school “if you want to be considered as a serious artist, don’t have children.” In the traditional model of being an artist, one’s life must be consumed by art making. Raising children is also all-consuming. And yes, it has changed my life as an artist dramatically. I am more focused, organized, energized, inspired and determined to tell my story of being a professional artist and a “good mom.” My son shows me the world anew and I notice my own limited adult views.

My son has now gone off to college and I am entering a next stage of motherhood.  A friend told me that raising my son to be a sensitive, caring, loving young man who wants to contribute and “pay it forward,” was my best creative act.

mama. 17

The Physical World

From MER 14 “Change” Issue

By Nadia Colburn

For nine months
I anticipated,

as the other end
of pain,

a revelation:
a world turned

inside out.
Each inch I grew

marked a promise:
my present physical

certainty, my approaching
release. And, indeed,

torn open,
I gave birth

to the end of ideas:
Beyond pain was born

no understanding,
beyond understanding

was revealed
no new knowing but

another body, robust
which no thought

set screaming,
purple faced,

infuriated at air,
and no thought moved closer

to my breast,
and not thought closed

its thinly lidded
round brown eyes,

so soon worn out
by the unfamiliar light.

Nadia Colburn is the proud mother of two,  lives in Cambridge, MA. Her work has been widely published in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, LARB, Southwest Review, and elsewhere. A founding editor at Anchor Magazine: where spirituality and social justice meet, Nadia teaches online and in person creative writing workshops that bring together the head and the heart. See more at www.nadiacolburn.com

mama n . 17

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MAMA- Mothers Are Making Art in 2016 [CLICK]

MAMA - Mothers Are Making Art

MAMA – Mothers Are Making Art

The ProCreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the continuation of  this literary and scholarly discourse which intersects with the artistic 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

Weapons of  Maternal Destruction; Spoke and Rupture – things done and undone; in what moment does protection or defence turn upon itself and what are the consequences?

More about the Artist – Rachel Fallon

My work explores themes of protection and defence in domestic and maternal realms –  the protection of a mother for her child, for her mental health, of identity and place. My research findings lead, not to answers but to the formulation of more questions.  The work I make is an attempt to pin these questions down so that the viewer has the possibility to form their own answer through interaction with each piece.

The conflicts and ambivalences of the questions inform the choice of material and technique for each work.  The methods of making are crucial to revealing new ideas and resolving thought processes intrinsic to the initial starting point of the piece. Mother Magazine

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M/other Voices for the New Year

by M. Joy Rose (Originally published online by M/other Voices)

Standing at the podium, about to begin a lecture to the twenty students in front of me at Manhattan College, I pop on a power point and click through the images of women creating mother-made art. In this particular slide-show there are curated photos from the Procreate Project, Project Afterbirth,m/other voices, Ima Iyla’a: The Art of Motherhood, Mamapalooza, and Demeter Press, as well as striking text from the Mom Egg Review. The students seem interested. The images are provocative, often including everything from menstruation blood to musical instruments. I have known for a long time how important it is for women who are mothers to have an arts movement of their own. And yet, gaining traction has proved to be harder than I thought. For many reasons, social, political, and cultural, women still lag behind globally in the arts world. From filmmakers who reportedly comprise a mere 4.1% of the top grossing directors of major motion pictures,[1] to the Guerilla Girls-inspired rants calling out major contemporary museums for their lack of equal exhibition time, women in the arts still have a lot of catching up to do.[2]Motherhood complicates these inequities further for reasons that are difficult to identify, but let me try.

There are three major forces compounding mother’s visibility in the arts: identity, consensus, and physical dis/ability. Let us first look at identity. Before we can even begin to dive into the idea of a mother-inspired arts movement, we need to clarify what is a mother? You might feel like arguing with me that there is no need, but in fact there is a need. If one is going to create a mother-arts movement one has to know whom one is including, and what the point of your movement is. Are you going to call your arts event a celebration of motherhood? What about those who do not think it is an elation, but rather a great misery heaped on them when they were least prepared? Are you concerned about the procreative act itself? The carrying, and waiting for the development and birth of the future child? What are you going to do with the adoptive mothers who did not birth their babies but are finding their mother-identity through the act of caregiving? And what about the ones who lost their children along the way? Are you going to include parents; meaning the mother and the father? This is a lovely idea, but, if you include parents, what do you do to amplify the unique experience of one who cellularly divides? The one whose body goes through embodied changes? Then, what about the “single” mother, with no likely partner or spouse? What are you going to do with grandmothers, stepmothers, gay couples, and the surrogates? Unlike many other objects or identities, from the very beginning the notion of mother is fraught. She is not a simple creature. She might not even be a woman. Therefore, conceivably a mother might be a he. Likewise, politically speaking, a mother might be a religious, right-minded, anti-abortion, Phyllis Schlafly kind of character, or she might be a forthright, left-leaning feminist. She might be an advocate of something you hate, and therefore you are tempted to hate her, or she might be a killer, a thief, or an addict. She might be absent. Is she one whose story you want to include? Are you going to share your arts movement with her? Herein lies the crux of the number one problem of a m/other based movement. There are so many kinds. I have been masticating on this for the better part of 26 years trying to sort out its complications.

While writing my thesis for graduate school I struggled not only with a definition of mother, but also with a definition of what the academic study of mothers might include. My reasoning for this was twofold. In my experience as the creator of an arts festival, which has aimed to highlight the varying voices, art, comedy, music, theater, and literature of motherhood, I consistently wrestled with what to do with the women who were not mothers but were other-mothers, aunties, and nannies insisting they wanted their experiences to be included. I wrestled with what to do with the caregiving partners, fathers, grandparents, and children of these creative-types, mostly because thy also often inquired about being included. Sometimes mothers wanted to blend their families in their art making and even if they didn’t, non-mothers often wanted to feel they too could exercise their voice. This challenged my vision for mother-made art, if only in the sense that it constantly required me to question whom to include or not include? If the art is about family, what sets these mothers apart from the others they are connected to? What makes them unique, or special, or why should they have a festival, movement, arts-based collection all their own? We all know that historically women’s voices have been silent relatively and mothers even more so. That could be reason enough, but in the end, maybe not. Questions and complications remain. No one, including me, seems satisfied with exclusionary practices.

M. Joy Rose and daughter Zena with Housewives On Prozac Band

M. Joy Rose and daughter Zena with Housewives On Prozac Band

The second part of the dilemma is, if we could identify the specificities of what mother is, how do we gain consensus on whether she is worth studying or whether her art is specifically noteworthy and deserving of its own category? Considering that we have left the first question somewhat unanswered, then the second question of cooperation creates its own challenges. The status or category of mother is often fraught. She does not represent all good things despite the fact that we have expected her to be everything: creator, collaborator, connector, and caregiver, for free, forever, unconditionally? Mothers manifest their fair share of resentment, both for socially constructed reasons and for psychological ones. Feminist movements reluctantly embrace motherhood if at all, and even mothers themselves seem unsure whether they care more about activism, equal wages, or getting dinner on the table. There is not enough time in this essay to adequately address this, although many have tried including Adrienne Rich[3] and Phyllis Chesler[4]for example. Let us for the purposes of this article simply say that it is extremely difficult to get people to agree on a consensus regarding mothers, mother-art, and motherhood.

Finally, leaving the answers to the first two issues ambiguous, we can now move to the very real challenges most mothers face, which include ability, time, and perspective. As any mother of a young one will attest to, creating anything other than limited cleanliness, order, income, and edible food can be a full-time occupation. Mix in the ephemeral nature of art and challenges arise. How does one find the hours in the day (or night)? The space? Some regularity? Should one buy paints or food? Make music or buy shoes? Natalie Loveless claims in her curated exhibit titled New Maternalisms that “mama-artists [need] to find creative ways of integrating their practices as mothers, artists, curators, writers, and teachers. By taking seriously the need to create from local and embodied conditions, these practices bring visibility and value to the maternal in and as art.”[5] I agree with her. But, as I have articulated, distinct challenges remain.

Ultimately, the notion of exactly what makes a mother, be it birth, caregiving, egg donation, or identity can all be debated. However, we define what a mother is and what the art-movement looks like, it must include relational aspects. Words like m/other, m/otherness, or mother-ness attempt to describe this. Any idea of mother must include the concept of transformation, inclusion, and evolution. Both the personal and relational status of me + other = m/other proposes an examination of how m/otherness or mother-ness is the experience of being connected, or disconnected, to one who is part of you. Or, of being a person who, as part of another and also linked to another (genetically, through caregiving, or by association), might inform action in a world conceived as relational. This view differs from our current social system. Current systems have been motivated by alienation, and by violent, external, institutional, and hierarchical social constructions. Herein’ lies the call for change. As Rothman asserts in the Book of Life, “The world that I live in, and the world that I want for my children, is not a world of scattered isolated individuals, and not a world of walls. It is a world of communities, of social solidarity, of connectedness between individuals and between communities, a world in which people and communities grow from and into each other.” (p.233). She explains that motherhood is “otherhood.” Or, as I theorize here: a mother is one who who divides, yet through that division he/she is paradoxically increased. Therefore, the division is also a multiplication. A theory of mother-ness privileges the conversation of difference (or division) and insists on tolerant engagement (connection) as well as intense intellectual curiosity as a fundamental practice. Therefore, as we make art, explore motherhood, and find ways to move forward, let us lift each other up. Let us continue to explore our victories as we lament our losses. Let us speak not with one voice, but with many voices and most of all – let that be okay.

[1] http://fortune.com/2015/10/06/women-directors-hollywood/

[2] http://nmwa.org/advocate/get-facts

[3] Of Woman Born

[4] Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman

[5] Natalie Loveless, New Maternalisms, Fado Gallery 2012

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The Status of Mother Art Around The World [LINK]

ProCreate Project is due to launch at the Women´s Art Library at Goldsmiths University in London, England on the 15th of December, 2015. Over 100 featured ‪#‎motherartists‬. #JoinMama Book your free ticket here [LINK]

Here is my personal statement regarding the current status of mother-art around the world by M. Joy Rose:

(Martha) Joy Rose

(Martha) Joy Rose

I’ve been organizing the Mamapalooza Festival (worldwide) since 2002, which was inspired by the adventures of my mom-rock band, Housewives on Prozac (1997-2008). The intention was to support a mother-made-arts-movement and to activate social change for women who were mothers because: a) mother-made art was not being encouraged, b) venues for maternally-inspired artistic expression were non-existent. Motherhood generates its own reasons for celebration as well as illuminating a unique set of challenges. It was my very strong feeling that women who were artists should not ignore the procreative and caregiving aspects of their new-found embodied existence and that opportunities for mother-made-art should flourish.

By creating an inclusive, large-scale platform, I licensed the festival to event organizers ultimately reaching four countries and twenty-five cities. Hoping to open the portals to individual (and family) creativity as well as call attention to the specific issues women who are mothers and caregivers face. The festival garnered millions of followers through media stories generated by local events. The issues we tackled were broadly related to everything from acknowledging the liberating power of creative self-expression amidst the self-sacrificing nature of motherhood, to enhancing community engagement, as well as educating families at risk in the health, economic, and the reproductive justice arena.

ProCreateAfter years of organizing and promoting Mamapalooza through our non-profit Motherhood Foundation Inc. (2003-2010), the focus shifted to the long-term goal of having a physical location for the Museum of Motherhood. We procured a donated space in New York City from 2011-2014 where 60,000 people from around the world enjoyed our collaborative location. M.O.M. is currently online and conducts international academic conferences on the topic of mother studies (2005-ongoing). I got my graduate degree in mother studies in 2015 and am teaching through the museum portal, conducting classes in “families and social change” at Manhattan College, and writing about my experiences. Goals include continued international partnerships and a next-level space for exhibitions, classes, and archiving the science, art, and history of mothers, fathers, and families. The Mamapalooza Outdoor Extravaganza Festival continues to host approximately 10,000 families on the third Sunday of May each year in partnership with the New York Parks Department at Riverside Park South in Manhattan, USA.

I am thrilled to collaborate with the Procreate Project! Please stay in touch through MOMmuseum.org. See also Mamapalooza.com #JoinMama @MarthaJoyRose @MOMmuseum @Mamapalooza