MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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M.A.M.A. The Muteness and the Scream & When You Were Wild [Click]

The Muteness and the Scream
Carolina Brunelli

I have always believed in Art with a purpose. I have always believed that I needed a motive, a driving force of social change for my creative process to make sense. When I saw myself pregnant that feeling had simply gone. Perhaps by irony, the patriarchal oppression that I have never acknowledged in my own life, paralyzed me and the torrent of the classical dual feelings of motherhood threw me in a black hole. I no longer saw myself as an individual, a woman, an artist, nor could I see myself as an autonomous being.

This process of turning back to my old self took me three years. It was three years of creative labour to get through the cowardice of patriarchy that oppress women, creating an invisible work force for the perpetuation of the human life, shutting up feminine strength and independence. However, in my situation there is no specific villain, there is no false dichotomy of good and evil, only the branding print in the collective subconscious that women are responsible for raising their children.

Carolina Brunelli

During those three years, I had lost my identity and did not know where to start to get it back. That is until I came across “an Artist Residency in Motherhood”. This residency helped me uncover that I could unglue myself from the symbiosis that is to be a mother and retrieve my identity. My driving force of creation was slowly coming back. It has shown me that Motherhood is a fertile ground for social change and I could finally see that I was not the only one feeling this particular way. Through different readings from other artist mothers, I realised that what I was actually searching for was not an excuse to work, but a good enough excuse. It was not about the patriarchal oppression of feminine exclusivity in raising the children, nor the unfair share of the children´s care, even less the lack of the State support in the form of day-care and schools. It was finally clear to me, that I muted myself because of the lack of recognition of the artistic labour as a worthy enough labour for me to outsource the daily care of my son.

I´m an artist and I´m a woman. I believe in Art as a living force of change. For me, being a mother was not only to yield to all the patriarchal conjecture but to disbelieve in all those special values that made me who I was before, nullifying my own self. Using Art as an instrument and the Residency as catapult, I could see myself as a woman again, independent and above all as a capable individual.

I believe now that I should share this overwhelming experience of imprisonment and freedom. I should go out of my cocoon and show, through everything that I lived the importance of dealing with the Motherhood thematic in Arts. Motherhood needs to cease to be a taboo, to be unwelcome and shameful and can finally reach femininity´s real symbolism of ancestry strength.

Thayná Bonin, a special old friend, who is such a sensible photographer, suggested that her and I could co-create a project to deal with all these issues. Therefore, we have created a photographic manifesto to expose Motherhood in its deepest rawness and awkwardness, but also beauty.

PHOTOGRAPHIC MANIFESTO ART AND MOTHERHOOD

We open the door and invite you to see the shadows, shadows from the story of a woman surviving motherhood on a patriarchal society.
We recover what mother-being has of most human and instinctive, we search for the access to our lost ancestry.

Surviving motherhood on a patriarchal society is painful.
In this society, being a mother means always feeling guilty and tired, to do the job of a whole of society alone.

But beyond the oppressions being a mother is also being able to fight, to survive, to reinvent oneself and to reconnect to our inner nature and strength.
These photos are a manifest, they invite you to look at mothers with compassion, humanity and love.

They are an instrument used to seek a new identity, they deny the bourgeois myth of the all-loving, all-forgiving and all-sacrificing mother and try to reach that touching point of two distinct beings with their own dreams and wishes, passions and fears.
They bring humanity back to the women-mothers, putting them back in focus, the place where they belong in life.

We believe photography can transform and empower the way women see themselves as a woman and as a human being. We hope that through this personal experience of patriarchal oppression we can reach other women and mothers, and that together we can be stronger. Art can be powerful.

Let us rise.

Carolina Brunelli
Thayná Coimbra

L.B. Williams

WHEN YOU WERE WILD   

(after Louise Erdrich)

When you were far away

snow fell green

Where trees were white hoary mountains

When three hundred year old men

could sleep beneath eagles

and become boys again

When I called to you

my voice at first a whisper

When all the mandrake roots were

taken from the earth

When a wind sighing chant

brought you to me.

Originally published in Mom Egg Review Vol. 13

L.B. Williams is the author of, Letters to Virginia Woolf, (Hamilton Books, 2005). Her poetry has appeared in such publications as Washington Square, Mom Egg Review, Sunrise from Blue Thunder (A Pirene’s Fountain Anthology). She has also published two poetry chapbooks, Sky Studies, (Finishing Line Press Fall 2014), and The Eighth Phrase (Porkbelly Press, October 2014). A new poetry chapbook, In the Early Morning Calling, is forthcoming this year from Finishing Line Press. She is Professor of Literature at Ramapo College of New

Jersey. Www.letterstovirginiawoolf.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 by Elisabeth Schön Words by Judy Swann [CLICK]

The ProCreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 24th 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 everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA

Art by Elisabeth Schön – See more at ProCreate Website:

ZMOTHERINE

Art by Elisabeth Schön

The postpartum period is a surreal time and space that can hurt or heal a woman but either way she’ll never forget it with her in body in flux and a human being that just came through her and is utterly dependent on her for survival. Their meeting binds them as she’s confronted with her biology and its vulnerability. 

 
Elisabeth Schön is an artist photographer photo book maker juggling her attempts at self-publishing with three young boys at home.

Words by Judy Swann

Fool

I threw rose petals on the ground
and her pink slippers slid on that silky surface, the Muse, when she came just now.

Her small hooves have worn every fabric, every skin, every color, my kids
try them on when she slips them off.

Her little goat horns wobbled and she scolded, “Why am I not connecting? Why so many dreams and so little in my basket, Fool?”

By ‘Fool’ she meant ‘Innocent Child.’ She said, and I could see her beard, she said, “Tell me that you love me.”

“I am,” I said, “not sleeping alone.”
She said, “Tell me that you love me.”
I said she was always on my mind, I called

As often as I could. She said, “Tell me
that you love me.” I said “I’ve spent twenty years, two husbands, and all my thrift on those roses.”

Judy Swann is a poet, essayist, translator, mom, blogger, and bicycle commuter, whose work has been published in many venues both in print and online, including the Mom Egg Review. Her son is (always) on his way home. Her book, We Are All Well: The Letters of Nora Hall has given her great joy. She loves. She lives in Ithaca, NY.

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MAMA: Contained & Blur

 The ProCreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 23rd 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 everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA

Art by Jane Glennie

Container//contained 2012-2014

In psychoanalysis the container-contained notion, as introduced by Wilfred Bion, holds a neutral position, without judgement, that can be used as an approach to the analysis process. Reading texts through this position, from within the paradigm of motherhood, seems to be illuminating. It provides numerous ways of probing the question: ‘who is the container and who is the contained?’. How does the relationship between mother and child, mother and son, mother and daughter stand at any one discrete moment? What is the basis of the container at that moment? What is the emotion of the contained? The container can be actual, practical, or explicit. It can be metaphoric, emotional or implicit.

The complexity and variability of container-contained could, potentially, provide a framework to better understand and accommodate the complex and variable ‘emotional storm’ of minds (mother and child) that both ‘crave and resist’ each other.

more about the artist:

Jane Glennie was born in Rustington and grew up roaming a horticultural nursery; planting fuchsias on piecework and selling cups of tea to raise some cash. A winding path traversed fashion & textiles, economics and archaeology before a BA in Typography & Graphic Communication at Reading University, freelance graphic design, and then MA Art & Space at Kingston University. Jane exhibits her work nationally and internationally, and has managed and curated projects with other artists.

Blur

Words by Sarah Goshal

They say you

block it all out:

no sleep, sore

hips, racecar

blowtorch wake

up heartburn,

tests, tests, tests,

feet hurt, slow

walk waddle,

timing, waiting,

talking to you

for hours and the

pain …

I haven’t forgotten.

You were a pot of acid

in my side, trying to escape

with tremendous effort,

announcing the future

in seconds.

Originally published in Mom Egg Review Vol. 15

Sarah Ghoshal is a poet, a mom, a professor and a runner. She has published two poetry chapbooks and her work can be found in such publications as Red Savina Review, Cream City Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review and Whale Road Review, among others. She lives in New Jersey with her happy little family and her faithful dog Comet, who flies through the air with the greatest of ease. You can learn more about her at www.sarahghoshal.com or find her on Twitter, @sarahghoshal.

Artist: Jane Glennie More at ProCreate Project

Blur

By, Sarah Goshal

They say you

block it all out:

no sleep, sore

hips, racecar

blowtorch wake

up heartburn,

tests, tests, tests,

feet hurt, slow

walk waddle,

timing, waiting,

talking to you

for hours and the

pain …

I haven’t forgotten.

You were a pot of acid

in my side, trying to escape

with tremendous effort,

announcing the future

in seconds.

Originally published in Mom Egg Review Vol. 15

Sarah Ghoshal is a poet, a mom, a professor and a runner. She has published two poetry chapbooks and her work can be found in such publications as Red Savina Review, Cream City Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review and Whale Road Review, among others. She lives in New Jersey with her happy little family and her faithful dog Comet, who flies through the air with the greatest of ease. You can learn more about her at www.sarahghoshal.com or find her on Twitter, @sarahghoshal.

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MER LAUNCH AND READING THIS WEEKEND IN NEW YORK

Announcing the launch of MER 15!

The 15th annual print issue of Mom Egg Review launches this Sunday at The Gallery at Le Poisson Rouge.  All are invited to attend.  The lineup of readers and info for the event are below.  It promises to be a truly inspiring reading of diverse literary voices. Advance tickets available till Saturday here:
http://www.themomegg.com/themomegg/2017_Launch_Tickets.html

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MAMA: In Her Own Words – Painting Scotland

Aga Gasiniak

Aga Gasiniak – In Her Own Words

My creativity is a journey. My work is very intuitive and symbolic. I tell stories through my paintings. Paintbrushes, paints, varnishes and canvases are tools to describe emotions, colors, and forms instead of words.  Every painting is a glimpse of memory, place, stillness and natural beauty. Every painting is a story. One takes place of another almost simultaneously.  Synchronicities happen also in art.
Painting requires taking risks, it is like a jump into deep water. The moment of emerging to the surface is pure happiness. It is also a joy, need, relief, meditation, getting through and fixing, constant learning. It is a fear as well, journey, expression, and the act of self- love.

Painting helps me to feel the past moment of beauty, peace, and happiness one more time. It is sometimes like time travel through parallel worlds. Past, present, and future penetrate through the process of creating. I am here and there at the same time.
My inspirations are strangely almost seasonal and follow’s cycles in nature and life. They are black and white photographs of remote places, electric posts, stars, children, moon, women, shells, the seaside, driftwood; feet, spirit and wild animals and all those things which are lost between words and images and could be found only through emotions.  I leave the clues of my identity in the techniques and the subjects I use and the more I paint or create the more I become aware of it.

Creating is constantly affected by life changes. Everything is connected which leaves every painting with an emotional and personal touch. I painted my recent landscapes during pregnancy. They represent not only places and moments of stillness but also emotions related to expecting a first child, adapting to changes and getting through the journey of the pregnancy. Go to PROCREATE PROJECT FOR MORE…. [LINK]

Aga Gasiniak

Aga Gasiniak

About Aga

Aga is a self-taught artist and finds that she is continually learning and evolving in her artwork. Her current body of work is focused on Scottish landscapes and her son’s portraits. Many of her images are inspired by visiting and taking photographs of Scottish landscapes and people whose stories or lives have had an impact on her life. Her art and creative process are an endless journey of experiences, feelings, ideas and thoughts. Aga works with various mediums including watercolors, acrylics, pastels, and oils. Aga’s work was exhibited in Edinburgh and was published in ‘The Mother’ magazine.

Additional Words: The Giraffe

By Laura Sloan Patterson from Mom Egg Review Vol. 14

There is a cry across the hall. Not the toddler cry of I want, I hate, You will do it now, but an adult sob wrested into baby vowels. He squats on the floor, holding a rubber giraffe we once pretended French, a toy he hasn’t touched since early teething. He’s unearthed his own archeology, buried in a canvas bin, the culture of his babyhood, and there’s an electrical crackle of shock. He folds her neck rhythmically and with each chiropractic bend, her keening squeak, and tears squeezed from his eyes. He cannot stop—the squeezing or the crying. He used to squeeze her like that and laugh deep in his body. When he tips his face up to mine, I see that it has happened: he knows I’m useless. He’s two, the age of purest reason. But perhaps I am mistaken: was there another offense? Did they quarrel? Did she come home late, smelling of Snoopy and snow cones? I’ll kill that giraffe bitch, I think. But later, while my son sleeps. I’ll disembowel her and dance on her squeaker. Lying down at night, I see my boy’s eyes in that moment of looking up, dimensional tunnels of sorrow. I mentally gather my tools: kitchen scissors, X-Acto knife, trash bags. But in the early morning I wake and know: I could hack legions of rubber giraffes, slit the evil girlfriend’s tires, blackmail every admissions committee in the world. No use. It’s not them but a sadness sipped from my own placenta, grown in the calcium of his bones. He grips the giraffe like the last bitter tuber in a burned-out forest, a rhizome he must carry on from here.

mama_logo_2015-copy

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MAMA – Privatizing Motherhood and the Pussy Bow

Featured Artist is Christen Clifford and her Pussy Bow (from imprints of her actual pussy on silk) – See more at ProCreate for images [LINK}.

Christen Clifford is a writer, feminist performance artist, curator, professor, actor, and mother who lives in Queens.

Christen Clifford, Pussy Bow at the Museum of Motherhood Art Annex Residency in St Petersburg

Christen Clifford, Pussy Bow at the Museum of Motherhood Art Annex Residency in St Petersburg

Privatizing Motherhood
By Karen Malpede

My daughter, born the year Ronald Reagan was elected president in a landslide, has given birth to her first child in the year Donald Trump squeaked into the presidency. She was raised on the outskirts of what was then un-gentrified Park Slope and she lived in a theater, the loft-space held our living rooms and our stage. She was raised collectively—at the Park Slope Food Coop and the Park Slope Child Care Collective, where she and I met friends we have to this day. I mothered her collectively as well. She came with me everywhere: meetings, rehearsals, my monthly food coop work slot and I worked one day a week in her child care. She came with me to women’s conferences on war and peace, and ecofeminism. She camped with me at the Women’s Peace Encampment. I have a photo of her, at four years old, dressed in a striped red and white bathing suit, weaving yarn across the exit to the military base, to keep the nuclear missiles inside. They were supposed to be sent to allied nations in Europe, where they would be driven around on trucks for quick launch into the Soviet Union.

We were successful, by the way, not just “we” of course, but the anti-nuclear movement kick-started by women on the antiwar left in England, at Greenham Common, in Germany and in the US. I was arrested as one of the White House Lawn Eleven in 1979, the year before my child was born. I was arrested, again, at a Wall St. anti-militarism demonstration when I was six months pregnant. These protests gained enough popular resonance and force to result in the nonproliferation treaty between Reagan and Gorbechov (which might well be over-turned by Trump and Putin).

My daughter knew my friends, who were artists, activists and mothers: Grace Paley, Barbara Deming, Dorothy Dinnerstein, Judith Malina, Sybille Claiborne, Eve Merriam, and the only two still alive, ecofeminist organizer and writer, Ynestra King, whose birth I assisted and whose son my daughter met the day after he was born, and Martha Bragin, an international child-of-war trauma specialist with a program for Afghan social workers in Kabul, whose child was in the same collective day care. My daughter was breast fed on demand until she was four years old because she was mainly always with me and because it was always all right, or it felt all right to me, to breast feed where ever I was when she was hungry or needed comfort (although I lost a theater grant for breast feeding at a meeting with a local Brooklyn utility). Only once did I pump milk for her to leave in reserve so her father could do the feed—when I went to the second Women’s Pentagon Action, in 1982; and, then, too, to relieve myself, I expressed my breast milk into one of the public toilets in the shopping mall underneath the Pentagon, which felt like a ritual-offering of sorts. I finished a play the day before I went into labor. I remember sitting on the floor bending over my huge belly collating pages. That night I went to the Women’s Salon which I had co-founded, a monthly forum that hosted major writers the minute their books or plays came out. The play I finished before labor was produced in Brooklyn at the Arts at St. Ann’s, then still in the downtown church, when my child was one year old. The first time I took her in my arms into the church for a rehearsal, she, excited but too young to speak, pointed at the domed cathedral ceiling alive with light flooding through the stained glass. “Mama, see!” The words burst out in awe. It would be months before she actually began to talk, but during rehearsal breaks she would crawl onto center stage, sit and mime the gestures of the actors.

Does all this sound antiquated and odd? Or does it sound like a golden age long gone?

Nothing could be less like the motherhoods of my daughter, or of Martha’s daughter, a housing lawyer, or the daughter of another friend, a public health specialist at a state health and human services department. These mothers spend hours of their day pumping breast milk for storage in refrigerators and freezers to be given to their children when they are away at work. My daughter pumps in an employee bathroom at Trader Joe’s, where she works, in San Antonio, Texas, where she and her husband moved because on working class salaries they could afford to buy a house. Martha’s daughter refers to herself as a small-time dairy factory, pumping milk for her son born prematurely who has yet to be fed except through a pipette. At the health and human services agency, nursing mothers must make a reservation to use the lactation room because it is too small for more than one breast-feeding woman at a time. It never occurred to anyone in   “human services” that women might pump and talk together, about work or children or whatever, or, perhaps, it did occur to someone and this is why the room is only large enough for one. Another friend with a young child works on the UN Food Program and is based in Egypt. She has to pump in the prayer room reserved for her Muslim co-workers; there is no other space even for those whose job is figuring out how to feed women and children across the African continent.

These first-time mothers have all been told, they’ve told themselves, they must breast-feed their children for the first two years. My daughter comes from her late shift at 12:30 am and pumps for an hour so there will be milk for her next shift the next day. Then she nurses the baby when he wakes in the middle of the night. Before she leaves for work, she pumps again, after nursing and feeding her baby his home-cooked organic, mashed fruits and vegetables. And she does without another woman’s voice, another woman’s helping hand. She’s alone in her suburban house.

At the same time as the fetus has become “a person”; motherhood has been privatized. What once was, in my memory, collective and communal, joyful—with children passed from day-care to play-date to sleep-over among families who knew each other well, or taken with their mothers to work and on adventures where there were other adoring adults—has become a solitary endurance contest. The mother must not falter; she cannot not produce the milk. She cannot not go to work. She is busy virtually 24 hours a day; she rarely sleeps and is always tired.

Breast-feeding in public is forbidden. Pumping rooms are lonely, inhospitable places. And the burden of feeding her child an optimum diet—of breast milk—is solely hers.

Pumping machines are plastic cups held by hand to the breast, with cords running to a receptacle and they have a wheezing motor. Some pumps are more effective than others, of course, but the machines that come with most insurance plans are ineffectual and slow; it takes a long time to pump six ounces of milk.

Women are isolated, relegated to private, sometimes unsanitary spaces, while they pump. Pumping is considered break-time from work. I had never considered any of this until I visited my daughter in San Antonio and watched her days and nights. When her husband comes home from work, she goes to work. They have an hour or two at most of waking time together. The child is passed between them. He’s still young, at 9 months, but there are no playgroups and scant outings with other mothers. Most of her friends leave their children with their grandmothers while they work (thus, social security subsidizes childcare), but I live and work in New York.

The privatization of motherhood is, of course, the conservative goal. Our lives should be privatized. We should all be in it for ourselves. Wealthy women can hire nannies, but this is just the privileged form of privatization. Mothers on a treadmill from work to nurture to the breast pump have no time to get together, much less to organize.

The point of anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy’s important book Mother and Others is that children reared and fed by groups of responsive adults (as all children in “primitive” hunting and gathering societies were and are or “they were unlikely to survive”) “learned to perceive their world as ‘giving place.’” This matters greatly, Hrdy says because “Within the first two years of life, infants fortunate enough to be reared in responsive caretaking relationships develop innate potentials for empathy, mind reading and collaboration, and often do so, with astonishing speed.”

Collective childrearing is not just good for mothers, alleviating some of the astonishing boredom of being with an infant or young child; it is essential for children if we wish, that is, to raise empathic adults, capable of understanding and caring for others as well as themselves. Those who see the world as a “giving place” are much less likely to destroy it and themselves with it. They are much more likely to take care.

Hrdy points out those evolutionary traits that are not used can atrophy and disappear. So, she posits, might be the case with empathy. That which once made us human because we recognized the other in ourselves and responded to the stresses and challenges of society as an I and Thou exchange in which our own best interests are best served by serving the best interests of others (for instance, stopping climate change and nuclear proliferation) is in danger of atrophying for lack of use. By privatizing the social activity that demands and creates empathy, we run the risk of raising human creatures wanting this essential trait. A sort of monstrous version of ourselves, loose and amuck in a universe ever-more endangered by our own actions, a world threatened by our inability to understand our own connections.

My daughter’s childhood was spent around the collective, women-dominated antinuclear and peace movements of the 1980ies; it is bitterly ironic that her child has been born into a moment when Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have decided to play “nuclear chicken” with our planet and to drill for its remaining oil. Nothing would be important, now, again, than women’s voices, raised with all the authority of motherhood, to demand an end to nuclear weapons and real public policy actions to retard climate change. At this same moment, motherhood has become such a private, taxing, full-time job that woman lack the energy and strength, and the hours in the day, to secure a future for their children. This is the cost of privatizing our most communal trust: the raising of children to care.

If my, now elder generation, managed, we also failed to leave a legacy that made it possible for our daughters and their daughters to live collectively as we had. All I can say in defense is that my daughter proves my point; she is one of the most empathic people I ever met; kind and compassionate to her core, struggling and aware. But she is alone with her child. Without collective action focused on planetary peace and renewal her child’s future is grim.

Karen Malpede is a playwright and writer, co-founder of Theater Three Collaborative, editor of Acts of War: Iraq & Afghanistan in Seven Plays and Women in Theatre: Compassion & Hope. Plays in Time, a collection of four of her plays, is forthcoming in 2017. Her work appears in The Kenyon Review, Torture Magazine and The Brooklyn Reader, and has been published in The New York Times, The Drama Review, TriQuarterly, Confrontations and elsewhere. She is an adjunct associate professor of theater and environmental justice at John Jay College, City University of New York.

M.A.M.A. is the Museum of Motherhood, the ProCreate Project, the Mom Egg Review, as an 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
mama_logo_2015-copy