MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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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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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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Of My Body/Of the Land and More…. [CLICK]

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

mama n.15Anna Hultin is a wife, mother-to-be and artist who lives in Loveland, Colorado. After receiving her BFA from Colorado State University she opened Gallery Nine-Seventy in Loveland where she a Director and Curator. Always inspired by children and their art, she also creates art curriculum for homeschool students. Anna’s artwork is exhibited locally and nationally, and she is excited to see how her new little one will influence and affect her work.

Of My Body/Of the Land

There is a profound beauty in the correlation between the way my body grows and sustains life and the way our land does the same. This intertwining of land, body and life is the topic of the landscape drawings that make up the project, Of the Land. Each drawing focuses on different ways that the cycles of our land cultivate connection and relationship. Every cycle in our landscape lives in relationship to another process. New growth is birthed through wildfire. The dead sleep of winter breeds new life in the spring. No cycle or growth can exist without relationship to another process or being, just as my child only can grow and exist within my own body full of its own processes and cycles during his first months of life. From this interdependence a deep ineffable relationship is formed. These drawings seek to put an image around something unnamable and intangible; the bond of mother and child.

On new routes, new life, new lines
the build is
life from me
life sustained by my body
life without me–being of its own
You are built from me but you will grow out of me
The beauty I want to see is no longer my own
I am the soil, you the tree

mama 15

Blind Date   

by Samina Najmi

At twenty-one, my mother has striking eyebrows—expansive, dark, and gently converging.  Lush like Lalmonirhat’s hills that cradle the white colonial building she calls home.  My father sees her for the first time during the wedding ceremony, reflected in a mirror.  His heart beats easier at the sight of her light-skinned face, her downcast eyes, and still lips which have never been painted before this night.  But the fine hair that rims those lips, and especially those eyebrows, so bold, so black, and sharply angled make him unsure of his ability to keep her.  Throughout their 23-year-old marriage, my father will have a recurring nightmare in which another man carries his wife away.  (Until one does.) His howls will awaken the sleeping children.

A good Pakistani bride of the sixties, my mother doesn’t open her eyes to look upon her groom’s face until the throng of geet–singing women in brilliantly hued, silk saris have ushered her to the bridal chamber.  They sit her down on a bed strewn with roses and gardenia, scooping the emerald silk of her flamboyantly flared pajama after her.  A paisley print of solid silver splashes across both the pajama and red tunic in provincial Bihari fashion—much to the bride’s dismay, who had hoped for something trendier from the stores of the big city where, she hears, the groom and his sister live together.  The singing women help her cross her left leg and bend the right one, resting her chin upon her knee.  They place her hennaed hands in a clasp around the knee–artfully, so that the bejeweled fingers of her right hand cover the shriveled left one that doesn’t open.  Adjusting her vermilion-and-gold dupatta over her head one last time, they exit, still singing of maiden temptresses and the fast-beating hearts of their suitors, satisfied to have staged just the right degree of bridal modesty and mystery.

When the groom and bride are finally alone, he lifts her veil of garlands as gently as he can.  A teeka with a single ruby at its center glimmers on her forehead, its tiny white pearls brushing against those startling eyebrows.  A fine hoop of gold, the bridal nose-ring she will never wear again.  The groom’s shapely hand reaches for her chin and tips it up from the knee, ever so slightly.  As if on cue, the bride opens her eyes.  She sees the slim, dark man her parents have chosen for her, an assistant professor of physics in faraway Karachi.  Her eyes take in the crisp white shervani collar that encircles his neck, the wedding turban he will never wear again.  The severe, pencil-thin moustache that restrains the generosity of his full lips.  She looks into his big, dark eyes and wonders at their melancholy.  And what she feels for him is not the heady passion of the romances she has secretly been writing.

The man seems kind, if remote, as virginal as she is, and they spend the night telling the stories on which their forevers will depend.  At twenty-nine, he already feels his life ebbing.  The bride doesn’t know yet how greedily death claimed his young parents.

In the bathroom she prays for love to grow in her heart.

About the Author:Samina Najmi

Samina Najmi is associate professor of English at California State University, Fresno. A scholar of race, gender, and war in American literature, she discovered the rewards of more personal kinds of writing in a 2011 CSU Summer Arts course. Her creative nonfiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Progressive, Pilgrimage, The Rumpus, Gargoyle, Chautauqua, and other publications. Her essay “Abdul” won Map Literary’s 2012 nonfiction prize. Samina grew up in Pakistan and England, and now lives with her family in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

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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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M.A.M.A. – Mothers ARE Making Art – New Installation(s)

WHAT: The ProCreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are partnering for bi-monthly on-line presentations featuring M.A.M.A. – Mothers are Making Art.
WHEN: The 1st and the 15th of each month words and images will highlight the joy and the challenges of being both a mother and an artist.
WHERE: Online is the place! We will host works of art about mothers and mothers-to-be; featuring academic and creative writing in order to promote women internationally and generate cultural exchanges and opportunities.

WHY: We are determined to explore the extraordinary experiences of mothers and how, by means of channeling these new and powerful energies a person can cultivate both motherhood and art. However, support is needed and awareness must be raised to facilitate this process and to finally empower it.

We strive to give voice to all women, make acceptable room for “feelings,” sensations, and interpretations without judgment; we want to make space for mothers in the arts to display their work and move a conversation about “the art of motherhood” forward. DOWNLOAD THE PRESS RELEASE.

@ProcreateProj  @MOMmuseum @TheMomEgg #JoinMAMA

slide5This month features Lynn Lu (Pictured on homepage and above here) and Beck Tipper, whose writing is highlighted on the M.A.M.A. page here.

Paradoxes for the Virtual collaborative Skype performance with Birgitta Hosea on YouTube [LINK].
Lab451LONDON; Camden Image Gallery; London, UK. 2015
In a game of Exquisite Corpse, Lynn Lu (live) and Birgitta Hosea (projected from SKYPE) explore intimacy and the generation of interpersonal closeness across a virtual divide through a scored series of shared confidences.

-PREGNANCY AND AFTER MOTHERHOOD INSPIRED SEVERAL OF THE LYNN LU PERFORMANCES AND INSTALLATIONS-

Lynn Lu received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University with a major in Sculpture and a minor in Graphic Design in 1999. In 1998, she studied with Christian Boltanski at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and at the École Marchutz in Aix-en-Provence. She earned her MFA in New Genres at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2002, and completed a PhD program (ABD) at Musashino Art University in Tokyo in 2008, on a full scholarship from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2010 she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by the University of Newcastle in Australia.

Since 1997, Lynn has exhibited and performed extensively in the United States, Singapore, Japan, China, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Australia, New Zealand, UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Poland, Belarus, Czech Republic, Turkey, Greece, Argentina, and Canada.

See more about Lynn at ProcreateProject.com