MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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Muttererde & The Language of Class

Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor Muttererde (2017) Video

Muttererde profiles conversations with five black femmes on the knowledge and non-knowledge of their mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers and as far back as the knowledge carries them to create a rich and powerful archive on ancestry.  They explore themes of motherhood, migration, cultural differences, beauty standards, queerness, kinship, death and rebirth. Their stories, although from five different countries, intertwine to weave a tapestry of herstory through the African diaspora. Through their testimonies, the viewer discovers that ritual, memory and oral history can challenge the status quo.

This work, made in collaboration with filmmaker Astrid Gleichmann, features the stories of Camalo Gaskin, Tobi Ayedadjou, Niv Acosta, Natalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro and Fannie Sosa. It has been supported by the Decentralized Cultural Work Tempelhof-Schöneberg, District Kunst und Kulturforderung Berlin and A Prima Vista Filmproduktion. Posted in partnership with the Museum of Motherhood, Procreate Project and the Mom Egg Review.

 Artist Biography

Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor (b. 1984, Florida) is a multidisciplinary artist and community organizer. Her roots are in the Southern United States, born in Mississippi and raised in Florida. Taylor’s work manifests through performance, text, dialogue, dance and community building for Black People and People of Colour. She is chiefly concerned with ways to dismantle oppressive institutions and the creation of racial equity in art and cultural institutions. She has performed and presented at the Barbican Centre of Art (London, UK); Chisenhale Gallery (London, UK); Hebbel Am Ufer (Berlin, Germany); Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin, Germany); Sophiensaele Theater (Berlin, Germany);  The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art (Oslo, Norway); Rogaland Kunstsenter (Stavanger, Norway); and the Irish Museum for Modern Art (Dublin, Ireland). She is currently undergoing a Master of Art in Black British Literature at Goldsmiths University of London.

VIDEO TRAILER

LANGUAGE CLASS

Kimberly L. Becker, (written on Qualla Boundary; for C.M.)

Little by little

we are reclaiming the words

Just as the land was once large,

so, too, our voice

Some words lost on the Trail

have been found

They lived hidden in baskets,

in pockets, in the very tassels of corn

(Selu, Selu)

Now the words live again

See? When I say nogwo it is now,

both the now of then and the now

of not yet

The words work secret medicine

and strong, forming us

from the inside out

Language is our Magic Lake–

we walk in limping with loss

and emerge wholly ourselves

When Cecilia speaks

she bears with her

the future of these sounds

Listen: her voice is soft, but sure

Originally published in The Mom Egg Vol. 8 Lessons, 2010

The Museum of Motherhood, the ProCreate Project, the Mom Egg Review, and the Mother Magazine are pleased to announce the launch of a bi-monthly international exchange of ideas and art. M.A.M.A. will celebrate the notion of being “pregnant with ideas” in new ways. This scholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the creative, the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. Download the Press Release here or read about updated initiatives#JoinMAMA  @ProcreateProj  @MOMmuseum @TheMomEgg

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Diversifying Visibility to Decrease Mortality Rates

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

Chinelle Rojas, Dear Little One Birth Photography

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

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

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

Chinelle Rojas, Dear Little One Birth Photography

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

http://www.tampabirthphotographer.com/

http://themelanatedbirth.com/

Additional Resources:

http://blackbreastfeedingweek.org

http://www.kimberlysealsallers.com

Article sources:

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

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

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