The ProCreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 28th 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

March, 2018 Art by Rajaa Paixão words by Gwen North Reiss

Art by Rajaa Paixão

Rajaa’s art practice tackles a conceptual and multidisciplinary approach, mainly encompassing sculpture and painting, turned into assemblages.

Having an overly dreamy and idealist nature, her thoughts tend to be too erratic and therefore overlapping, resulting in the abstraction and blurry perception of events, contrasted with the urge to reorder physical objects neatly, and naturally, the need to examine divergent themes.

Rajaa’s work process resembles a reverse visual digression, exploring the limits of her memory and imagination, and sharpening indistinct feelings through a dissected analysis of the subject; with the purpose of demystifying the complexity of an event and minimalising thematic narratives by stripping it to its essentials.

The choice of unconventional and diverse materials results from the study of the topic and the inspiration behind it. The role of a base/structure to hold or present the work is as essential to her as the artwork itself; and she only feels that the work is finished when both elements merge into one sculpture, with a clear correlation between all the displayed pieces.

“Becoming a mother was a massive challenge to reconcile my art process with my new status and responsibilities, and reintegrate creation in my daily life. It also changed the way I look at life and respond to change, something I’m happy to embrace and translate in my future work. I am currently exploring safe materials further, and implementing new techniques, which will allow me to maintain my practice in the presence of my son.”

Selected Projects:

– Left Overs no more

The body of work consists of an installation of 3 pieces encompassing painting (at times using one hand while holding a baby or rocking a pram with the other), and sculpture, using contrasted materials and techniques to create organic and industrial shapes.

Bringing together unfinished works and what seems to be an eternal work in progress, the artworks respond to the theme of Sanity and Motherhood, or what’s left of it.

The result involves a long process of what resembles an artistic therapy, in an attempt to extrude trapped emotions on canvas, morphing unconscious thoughts into a colourful interpretation, repetitive and identical gestures; assembled to create inner order, achieved in short saccadic intervals of interrupted time.

Echoing a prolonged chaotic mental and physical metamorphosis, the pieces reach a state of being almost finished, on the verge of being made sense of, figured out, endorsed; only to be soon hit by a triggered, sudden and uncontrollable wave of irrational fear backed with fury, spreading “like” fire, consuming every bit of vulnerable order recently restored.

The end result betrays an illusory freedom being brutally stripped off, the lie of being a separate and defined entity, provoking a loss of control and irreversible frustration, transferred onto the work.

What seems to be a hanging promise of accomplishment, just like the postpartum body and mind, displays signs of visible damages and cracks, hinting to the extent of the invisible ones.

In the end, each imperfect left over from an unfinished work manages to find balance and a purpose in filling a supporting role in the birth of a new coherent and complete entity.

– Berlin 78 Days Backwards

3 pieces tackling an impossible hypothetical yet actual attempt of a trip, using the power of physics and surrounding forces such as black holes, time and the speed of light.

A story about missing an art trip to Berlin, and deciding to travel virtually. The work result consists of a time machine (with hints to a torture tool from all the waiting and stressing), light and sand incubators, ‘theoretically’ meant to catch the light through a mirror and make the sand level rise, allowing the powers of physics to do their magic, and a black hole sound piece with a distorted recording of the unlimited calls made to the German Embassy.

Instagram @rajaapaixao

Words by: 

Gwen North Reiss


Like Dorothy you imagine

that someone will give you,

will have the power to

grant, I think was the word,

what you most want,

one thing that was so clear

when you started out

before you met all of these others,

before the dog met all of these others

who also searched for one thing.

You know the list, a heart,

courage, a nervous system etc.,

a way to get back to Point A.

The shoes were key—

the ones worn for a while

by an evil one and now irreversibly

yours because of the violent way you came

into this world, with feet,

fully formed. You were a bit rumpled,

and so serious, staring—

What an entrance! —

while others giggled and cooed

and asked who must you be.

You knew all along, but you had

to tell them in so many words,

reminding them at every turn

when you started walking,

when you reached the city,

and discovered the truth

about the great one.

By then they knew you well

enough to help you explain.

And you knew what they wanted

and knew what you would miss

about each one of them

when you left—or got back

whichever it was.

The day wishes were handed out like prizes

the great and powerful disappeared

in an instant, waving and yelling97

about accident and miscalculation,

which tipped you off to the sobering news

that you would have to do the rest yourself.

Not the cyclone this time,

but a letting go—colors reverting

to black and white, the memory

of faces you loved,

a hand on your brow.

Originally published in Mom Egg Review Vol. 15, 2017

Gwen North Reiss – Pen and Brush recently published a group of Reiss’s poems called “Paper Aperture” as part of their e-publication program. She studied poetry at the 92nd Street Y and was the recipient, in 2012, of the Unterberg Poetry Center’s Rachel Wetzsteon Prize. She has a degree in Literature from Yale and works as a writer and communications consultant.