M.A.M.A. Issue n.47 - Henny Burnett and Sarah Freligh

Procreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 46th edition of this scholarly discourse. Literature intersects with art 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 #artandmotherhood

June 2021: Art by Henny Burnett - words by Sarah Freligh

Art by Henny Burnett

365 Days of Plastic (2020-2021)

I make objects that respond to the domestic and the everyday. In 365 Days of plastic I used multiples of cast single use plastic food packaging to form a large scale installation. The making of the work involved the endless repetitive task of casting over 800 pieces. Repetitive tasks often feature in my work and reference those daily domestic chores we all do and which seemed to dominate life even more under lockdown. In our household we separate our recycling and I could see that the amount of single use plastic was forever increasing during lockdown.

I was horrified by the quantity, but also became fascinated by the patterns and textures. As a sculptor I could see the potential of using them as moulds. I documented the weekly quantity of plastic used in my household during 2020. In the final installation there are 760 individual cast pieces, which represents an average of 2 per day from a household that fluctuated between 2 and 4 people during 2020.

I see 365 Days of Plastic simultaneously as both beautiful, and horrific. It plays with an ambiguity of outcome and interpretation. It could be domestic or industrial, useful or useless. Or both beautiful and ugly. The different scales and textures formed through casting create a panoramic view of containers. The positive and negative spaces play equal importance.

The making of the work coincided with the pandemic, so it functions for me as a marker of time, and of the containment itself. It also asks questions about our disposable society, consumerism and our dependency on plastics. Britain is the worst consumer in Europe of single use plastics.

365 Days of Plastic was one of twenty pieces shortlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2021 and is currently showing at York Art Gallery until 5th September 2021.

More about Henny:

Henny Burnett is a mixed media artist who lives and works in Bristol and London. She attended Byam Shaw and Edinburgh Colleges of Art. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, undertaking residencies in Italy and Britain. She has won awards from Juliet Gomperts Trust, The British council, ACE and travel grants to Canada and USA. Recently a finalist for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2021 and awarded a commission for new work by Procreate Project funded by Arts Council England.

Words by Sarah Freligh 

Snow Baby

Her girl is disappearing, erased daily by the wan heat of a January sun. Her cold only child, the daughter she palmed into life out of snow and hope after the others were wrung out of her, little white dishrags. Afterward, the white space where she’d been stranded. Every day a blizzard in her brain, a windowless room until she flexed her fingers and built her girl. Please come inside, her husband begs her nightly. But no, not yet. Here is a pink hat, daughter. Can you see how I’m trying to save you?

More about Sarah:

Sarah Freligh is the author of Sad Math, winner of the 2014 Moon City Press Poetry Prize and the 2015 Whirling Prize from the University of Indianapolis. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Sun Magazine, SmokeLong Quarterly, Cincinnati Review and in the anthology New Microfiction: Exceptionally Short Stories (W.W. Norton, 2018). She was the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2009.From MER 17 (2019). Marjorie Tesser, Editor-in-Chief.


M.A.M.A. Issue n.46 - Dr Christina Kolaiti and Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor

Procreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 46th edition of this scholarly discourse. Literature intersects with art 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 #artandmotherhood

May 2021: Art and words by Dr Christina Kolaiti, Poetry by Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor

Art by Christina Kolaiti

‘Three Degrees of Separation’

This body of research challenges the conflicting landscape of early motherhood, as this is conveyed through social prescriptions, which interpret the body as a metaphor for self-worth and aim at controlling the mother-infant physicality. This norm is in fact experienced through three progressive stages of physical and emotional separation between mother and infant, opposing the fundamental principles of healthy attachment i and can result in breastfeeding grief, separation anxiety and trauma.

Early weaning, the cot-centred sleep training culture and the introduction of the infant to day care are three progressive stages of physical separation. Such conventions discourage “interdependence with high parental contact” ii and define three modes of cry it out iii  experienced mutually by the infant and also, the mother. This body of research holds an opposing view and strives towards a more natural approach to the mother-infant relationship through maximised physical closeness in both daytime and night-time parenting practices.

Three Degrees of Separation Installation by Christina Kolaiti at SelfScapes 2021, Dalby Forest

The installation presented at Dalby Forest during SelfScapes 2021 v reveals the social construct of separateness as a misleading connotation of independence, which is exposed by the disturbing melancholy of the aloneness of the cherished handmade teddy bear.  

If unattended long enough, babies stop crying because “they are simply giving up on the hope that comfort will come.” vi Vulnerable to the wilderness of the forest, the solitary presence of the delicate milk-coloured teddy bear, signified an unexpected encounter for the walkers. Yet, the bear is not alone.

This sighting (the infant-mother teddy bear) provoked an affectionate response from people who began to share images of keeping the bear company and temporarily making it part of their family. It was as if this natural encounter with separateness “reawakened a deeply instinctive way” of relating, or in other words parenting ” […] as nature intended: a true source of contact, security and warmth […].” vii

The walker’s portraits show an unplanned demonstration that secure attachment is as much nurtured in the physiological infant-mother closeness, as are the social aspects of this relationship. viii Likewise, this substantiates that co-nurturing interdependence is as much a responsibility of the prime caregiver as it is epitomised by communal affairs, representing a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.” ix By embracing our innate instincts, we can collectively re-instate the balance between intuition and convention.

“It takes a village to raise a child.” x

Notes:

i Bowlby, J. (1969) Attachment. Attachment and loss: Vol. 1. Loss. New York: Basic Books.

ii McKenna, J. J. (1996) ‘Babies Need Their Mothers Beside Them’, The Natural Child Project. Available at https://www.naturalchild.org/articles/james_mckenna/babies_need.html

iii Burbridge, A. (2016) ‘Letting babies cry-the facts behind the scenes’, La Leche League GB. Available at: laleche.org.uk.

v SelfScapes is an arts initiative, which explores the relationship between the self and the natural environment. Dalby Forest, March-June 2021. The project is supported by The Arts Council England and Forestry England.

vi Burbridge, A. [Ibid.]

vii Maté, D. G., Neufeld, G., (2019). Hold on to your kids: Why parents need to matter more than peers. United Kingdom: Ebury Publishing.

viii McKenna, J.J. [Ibid.]

ix (Bowlby,1969:94).

x  African proverb, which proposes parenting as a communal responsibility.

More about Christina:

Dr Christina Kolaiti is a Senior Lecturer in Photography at York St John University. She is a visual artist whose research has been based on interdisciplinary collaborations with healthcare institutions. For over a decade Kolaiti’s research activity has positioned the narrative properties of fine art photography within a diverse range of scientific and pedagogical contexts.

Her research profile includes exhibitions set within various hospital sites (for example, The Northern Surgery Skills Institute at Hexham General Hospital and The Royal College of Physicians in London). She has received research awards by The Arts and Humanities Research Council, The Arts Council England, York St John University and most notably, The Combined Royal Photographic Society and Royal Medical Colleges Medal in 2011, ‘[…] for an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the art and science of photography.’ (rps.org) 

Words by Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor

Home Isolation, Day 42

I open my son’s door.

It smells of boy funk, dog, and morning breath.

When I ask: Do you need any help?

I mean tornados, fractions, conjugations but I also mean interrogations of the gentler kind:

How are you doing? What do you miss? How can I substitute for your losses?

A dirty sock, whirring

laptop, abandoned

saxophone case-less, exposed,

today put nothing away.

More about Melisa:

Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor, Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia, is the author of Imperfect Tense (poems), and three scholarly books in education. Winner of NEA Big Read Grants, the Beckman award for Professors Who Inspire, and a Fulbright for nine-month study of adult Spanish language acquisition in Oaxaca Mexico, she’s served for over ten years as poetry editor for Anthropology & Humanism, judging the ethnographic poetry competition. She blogs at http:// teachersactup.com


M.A.M.A. Issue n.45 - Rubiane Maia

Procreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 45th edition of this scholarly discourse. Literature intersects with art 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 #artandmotherhood

April 2021: Art and words by Rubiane Maia

For the last three years, I have been investigating the concept of memory and its resonances in our way of existing. More specifically, focusing on the philosophy of Time proposed by Henri Bergson, which affirms memory as duration. In other words, it deals in depth with the subjective time that implies the continuous relationship between our consciousness and the world. This means that our consciousness (which is also memory) is not linear, as it is constituted on the indivisibility of past and present. In Bergson’s words, ‘duration is the continuous progress of the past that gnaws the future and swells as it progresses’. In my opinion, this sentence precisely confirms  the hypothesis that memory cannot be configured as a drawer where remembrances are saved, because as the past is preserved by itself as a virtuality that coexists with us, it accompanies us entirely: each one of us is the condensation of the history lived since birth – and even before it.

This notion that the past is a vital force that moves incessantly, coexisting and actualising itself through our bodies continuously has been a fundamental aspect in my current artistic production. I am particularly interested in the concept that the moment a memory is actualised through an action, it ceases to be a memory, becoming perception again. In this sense, the body becomes the device that launches us towards any future. In summary, consciousness is memory. Memory is duration. Duration is a continuous flow. This moving force is what unites the material and spiritual world. On the other hand, if we point these concepts in the direction of Indigenous Cosmologies, none of this is new. However, as we were born and grew up in a westernised world with numerous layers of violence and oppression, we are used to see the hegemonic perspective. Decolonizing memories takes a lot of effort. Effort to escape from the comfortable place of rationality. Effort to regain the vital impulse of the body that acts, that resignifies, that reorganizes time and life.

 

* Photographs by Manuel Vason

DISSOLUTIONS

 

our bodies inhabit landscapes

even on mainland, 

we follow the speed of the fish 

arms take the form of dorsal fins 

legs, tails

 

we are submerged, 

drunk with salt water, contradictions and algorithms 

our scaly skin burns, stings 

it is true that not all parts of the body fit together – – 

becoming-creature, becoming-noise, becoming-mud 

the ocean is full of mythologies 

hybrid beings,

bird fishes, jellyfishes, hammerhead sharks 

in the middle east, 

mermaids are goddesses of the sea, of vegetation and rain – – 

they smell of dew

in some places in Africa, 

they are stormy forces that mobilize the energy of creation

Mameto – Dandá – Kianda – –

Dandalunda, mãe-d’água, Odoyá! 

 

our bodies not only inhabit, 

they breath the landscapes

turbulent waters, 

urine – giant waves – undertow – – 

my fins fold in different directions at the same time

 

unlike fish, i have lungs: 

two spongy cones that I use  to filter the air

yes, i breathe, 

i, us, the fishes and some other creatures

we breathe, even against our desire 

involuntary act, 

first and last movement of the life 

vortex between birth and death 

a gentle breeze comes in through the nostril, 

fills the chest, 

activates the diaphragm, 

moves your tongue, 

vibrates

thus, the voice is born 

from voice to song, from song to word, from word to scream

 

our bodies not only breathe, 

they become landscapes

from each breath a mountain emerges, 

hills – dunes – stones  – – 

presence

 

organs are territories, 

complex systems, regions 

they make mazes and borders 

they form valleys, subtle surfaces, rivers and lakes

every mouth is an abyss, 

an endless hole

rough skin, dry leaf 

dark eyes, fissures 

anus, tunnel 

blood, current 

sweat, combustion. 

sneeze, storm 

feet, roots 

bones, architecture 

breath, gust of warm wind

 

body-landscape 

landscaped bodies

we inhale, suspend, count to five 

we exhale, suspend, count to four 

we inhale, suspend, count to three

 

silence 

we count to two, expand

one

i am breathing as someone that turn the key, 

shifting worlds to open and close the body

physical, mental, emotional,

rupture – interference – happening – – 

action that operates in the invisible, 

in a constant process of variation 

difference

breathing is to metabolize, 

dissolving all forms, segments, rules, institutions. 

breathing is channeling, 

an offer from you to you – sensitive laboratory – –

an unpredictable device

vivid dreams

 

sigh

More about Rubiane:

Rubiane Maia is a Brazilian visual artist based between Folkestone, UK and Vitoria, Brazil. She completed a degree in Visual Arts and a Master degree in Institutional Psychology at Federal University of Espírito Santo, Brazil. Her artwork is an hybrid practice across performance, video, installation and text, occasionally flirting with drawing and collage. She is attracted by states of synergy, encompassing the invisible relationships of affect and flux, and investigates the body in order to amplify the possibilities of perception beyond the habitual. By doing so, she is constantly re-elaborating her personal notion of existential territories (spatial, temporal, cognitive, social and political). More recently, she has been researching the concept of memory and its relationship with language and the phenomena of incorporation [embodiment], often making use of personal narratives as a device for action and resilience.

In 2014/15 she received a scholarship at the Atelier in Visual Arts of the Secretary of Culture of Espírito Santo, she launched the book ‘Self Portrait in Footnotes’ and participated in the exhibition ‘Modos de Usar’ at the Museu de Arte of Espírito Santo. In 2015, she took part at the workshop ‘Cleaning the House’ with Marina Abramovic and participated at the exhibition ‘Terra Comunal – Marina Abramovic + MAI’, at SESC Pompéia, São Paulo with the long durational performance ‘The Garden’ (2 months). In the same year, she produced her first short film ‘EVO’ that premiered at the 26th Festival Internacional de São Paulo and 22nd Festival de Cinema de Vitória. In 2016, she worked on the project titled ‘Preparation for Aerial Exercise, the Desert and the Mountain’ which required her to travel to high landscapes of Uyuni (Bolivia), Pico da Bandeira (Espírito Santo/Minas Gerais, BRA) and Monte Roraima (Roraima, BRA/Santa Helena de Uyarén, VEN). In the same year she completed her second short film titled ‘ÁDITO’. Since 2018 she has been working on the creation of a ‘Book-Performance’, a series of actions devised in response to specific autobiographical texts particularly influenced by personal experiences of racism and misogyny.