MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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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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PRESS RELEASE & Partnerships

September 2015
Project AfterBirth:
21st century pregnancy, birth, and early parenthood in art.

30 international artists. One ground breaking new exhibition.

The triumph of new motherhood. Stillbirth. Full-time fatherhood. Teenage parenthood. Miscarriage. Parenting in a warzone. Bilingual speech development. Post-natal depression.

These are just some of the themes behind the 39 international works showcased as part of Project AfterBirth; the first ever international exhibition on the subject of early parenthood, of which the world premiere will launch at White Moose gallery, North Devon, this October.

Each of the 39 works in the exhibition – which spans across the visual, performance, literary, film and digital arts – were made in the 21st century and represent personal pregnancy, birth and new parenthood experiences of 30 international contemporary male and female artists. Due to the lingering taboo status of parenthood in the contemporary art world and its perceived inferiority as a subject, most of the works have never been shown publicly before.

At times hilarious and at times deeply moving, the exhibition stands to leave a lasting impression on parents, but will also resonate with anyone in terms of their own individual birth and childhood journeys. The exhibition is also a first in demonstrating the profound influence pregnancy, birth and new parenthood experiences can have on the practice of 21st century female and male artists.

aura James Wray, Bound and Controlled, Project AfterBirth

Laura James Wray, Bound and Controlled

Project AfterBirth is the brainchild of Exeter based artist/curator duo Mila Oshin & Kris Jager (a.k.a. Joy Experiment) whose own early parenthood experiences informed their new body of work Passage , published/released this autumn as a poetry collection and music album.

Mila Oshin said:

“The contrast between the representation of pregnancy, birth and new parenthood in the media and our actual lived experiences is starker than ever before, and plays a big part in the increasing sense of isolation felt by 21st century parents. By seeking out and publicly displaying outstanding and highly personal contemporary works of art that reveal the many true faces of parenthood, we hope Project AfterBirth will make its mark in raising the profile of parenthood as we all really know it.

In spite of Project AfterBirth‘s tight parameters, an international open Call For Artists that took place this Spring resulted in more than 150 works from all over the world being submitted for consideration.

In addition to Mila Oshin and Kris Jager, Project AfterBirth’s exhibition’s selection panel members included Martha Joy Rose (Museum of Motherhood, New York, USA), Helen Knowles (Birth Rites Collection, Manchester, UK), Francesca Pinto (The Photographer’s Gallery, London, UK), and Stella Levy & Julie Gavin (White Moose, Devon, UK).

The Project AfterBirth exhibition premieres at White Moose gallery, North Devon, from 3rd October until 13th November 2015, with the aim to tour to a number of UK, European and USA art spaces and online platforms in 2016-19.

The 30 international artists that will exhibit work as part of Project AfterBirth are:
1. Alison O’Neill (UK)
2. Amanda West (USA)
3. Belinda Kochanowska (Australia)
4. Carole Evans (UK/Switzerland)
5. Chris Anthem (Lebanon/UK)
6. Clare Archibald (Scotland)
7. Courtney Kessel (USA)
8. Csilla Nagy (Hungary)
9. Danielle Hobbs (Australia)
10. Debbie Lee (UK)
11. Eti Wade (UK)
12. Geoffrey Harrison (UK)
13. Helen Sargeant (UK)
14. Hester Berry (UK)
15. Ione Rucquoi (UK)
16. Jana Kasalova (Czech Republic)
17. Jenny Lewis (UK)
18. Josie Beszant (UK)
19. Laura James Wray (UK/South Africa)
20. Lu Heintz (USA)
21. Madison Omahne (USA)
22. Magda Stawarska Beavan (UK/Poland)
23. Marilyn Kyle (UK)
24. Rachel Fallon (Ireland)
25. Rocio Saenz (Mexico)
26. Ruth Gray (UK)
27. Sasha Waters Freyer (USA)
28. Sarah Sudhoff (USA)
29. Tareg Morris (UK)
30. Trish Morrissey (UK/Ireland)

Exhibition: Project AfterBirth: 21st century visions on early parenthood

Gallery: White Moose
Dates: Sat 3 Oct 2015 – Fri 13 Nov 2015
Times: Tuesday – Saturday 11 am – 5 pm

Entry: FREE
Location: White Moose, Moose Hall, Trinity Street, Barnstaple EX32 8HX
T: 01271 379872, E: info@whitemoose.co.uk, W: http://www.whitemoose.co.uk

SPECIAL EVENTS: Artist talks, workshops and other activities aimed at various age groups are planned to take place throughout Project AfterBirth’s exhibition at White Moose this Autumn. Please click HERE for more details.

For all PRESS ENQUIRIES please email projectafterbirth@lionartprojects.co.uk

Please LIKE Project AfterBirth on Facebook and/or follow the project on Twitter

For more information, please visit: www.projectafterbirth.com

DOWNLOAD FULL PRESS RELEASE PDFProject_Afterbirth_Logo

See also below: Invite to the opening for Hechal Shlomo Biennale, Sept. 30 in Jerusalem

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Project AfterBirth – NEWS RELEASE – July 2015

We are delighted to announce Project AfterBirth’s:

OFFICIAL EXHIBITION SELECTION
Project AfterBirth presents the first ever international open art exhibition on the subject of parenthood. The exhibition will feature unseen and rarely shown artistic responses to lived experiences of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood, in a variety of visual, performance, literary, film & digital disciplines, by 30 international contemporary artists.
The selection panel spent many days over the past two months viewing the (more than 150) works submitted from all over the world in response to the open Call For Artists, reading through all application documents and deliberating over which of the many exceptional artists and outstanding works on offer to put through.
Due to the personal and intimate nature of the exhibition’s subject, many of the works and accompanying artist statements had a deep emotional impact. This, together with the quality, quantity and variety of the submitted works, made the selection panel’s task far from easy. However, as you will agree from the list of names below, Project AfterBirth promises to be a tremendous exhibition.
Most importantly perhaps, our experiences over the last two months have confirmed how much great contemporary, innovative work has been made and undoubtedly will continue to be made on the subject of pregnancy, birth & early parenthood in the 21st century. As the first ever open exhibition on the subject, Project AfterBirth will only scratch the surface of what is out there. It is therefore crucial that the lingering taboo status of parenthood in the contemporary art world and its perceived inferiority as an artistic subject, continue to be challenged at every opportunity.
It will take more than Project AfterBirth to change things, but through the exhibition and an anticipated (funding dependent) inter/national tour, community engagement programme and research project we are in the process of developing, we hope to make our mark and, along the way, inspire other arts professionals and organisations to adopt a more inclusive approach and develop opportunities for work on the powerful subject of parenthood.
So here, then, our selection of artists for Project AfterBirth’s exhibition:
1. Alison O’Neill (UK)
2. Amanda West (USA)
3. Belinda Kochanowska (Australia)
4. Carole Evans (UK)
5. Chris Anthem (Beirut/UK)
6. Clare Archibald (Scotland)
7. Courtney Kessel (USA)
8. Csilla Nagy (Hungary)
9. Danielle Hobbs (Australia)
10. Debbie Lee (UK)
11. Eti Wade (UK)
12. Geoffrey Harrison (UK)
13. Helen Sargeant (UK)
14. Hester Berry (UK)
15. Ione Rucquoi (UK)
16. Jana Kasalova (Czech Republic)
17. Jenny Lewis (UK)
18. Josie Beszant (UK)
19. Laura James Wray (UK)
20. Lu Heintz (USA)
21. Madison Omahne (USA)
22. Magda Stawarska Beavan (Poland/UK)
23. Marilyn Kyle (UK)
24. Rachel Fallon (Ireland)
25. Rocio Saenz (Mexico)
26. Ruth Gray (UK)
27. Sacha Waters Freyer (USA)
28. Sarah Sudhoff (USA)
29. Tareg Morris (UK)
30. Trish Morrissey (UK)
Project AfterBirth’s exhibition launches at White Moose gallery, UK, from 2nd October until 13th November 2015.
To keep up to date with all developments, please join the mailing list via the form below.
Project AfterBirth‘s exhibition selection panel members were:
– founders/curators Mila Oshin & Kris Jager (Directors, Joy Experiment, UK);
– Stella Levy and Julie Gavin (Directors, White Moose, Devon, UK);
– Martha Joy Rose (Director, Museum of Motherhood, New York, USA);
– Helen Knowles (Director, The Birth Rites Collection, Manchester, UK);
– Francesca Pinto (Head of Development, Photographer’s Gallery, London, UK).