Ph by Beth Chalmers

The ProCreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 35th 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

February, 2019 Art by Natalie Ramus, words by Katie Manning

Art by Natalie Ramus

With my exploration of the materiality of the body I attempt to connect with the innately performative body in view of it’s visceral, abject qualities. Through the re-presentation of bodily materials (such as hair or skin), that have universal familiarity through subjective experience, I am interested in how the gap between viewer and artwork or artist can be bridged; the viewer becomes hyper-aware of their own body, therefore having an empathetic, perceived physical experience. I often use my body within my practice as a way of reclaiming space and time. This reclamation is motivated by my desire to challenge, illuminate and confront the expectations of women to exist within a restrictive framework of socially expected behaviour in a patriarchal society. I am fascinated with the public-private and appropriate-inappropriate dichotomy that surrounds discussions in relation to the body. My questioning is driven by assumed acceptable modes of behaviour in society, specifically when discussing the concept of the female in public space.”

Through the juxtaposition of the immediacy of the body as battery of memory, as site and material, and domestic, seemingly nostalgic, memory-imbued objects which often carry immersive qualities through scent, (such as bread, milk or soap) I am interested in how time and memory become elastic; and how meaning is an inherently subjective perspective.

More about Natalie:

Natalie Ramus is a multi disciplinary artist based in the Welsh borders. Using her body as material to explore public/private dichotomies produced by societal conventions of the appropriate and inappropriate, Natalie seeks to dismantle and illuminate, challenge and provoke that which she faces as a female with a performative, visceral, abject body. Natalie’s practice was seeded in a fine art background and as her practice evolved it has become increasingly action based; concerned with the notion of installaction. Natalie has performed in London, Cardiff and Manchester and has exhibited works throughout the UK, most recently at MAC Birmingham. She graduated from Master of Fine Art at Cardiff School of Art and Design with distinction in 2016.

http://natalieramus.com

Mothers Pride

Mothers Pride is a durational performance. It is a space which, like the body itself, is autonomous. Evolving over a period of nine hours it becomes a site of meditation through action. It considers the maternal female within public space. As a mother I feel much conflict between the label of mother- what society perceives that to be, and how I feel as a mother, artist, feminist, etc. The notion of what qualities society thinks makes a ‘good’ mother is problematic and I wonder how the role is performed on a day to day basis. I am asking myself- where does my performance of the label of mother end and my true embodiment of being a mother begin? Using Mothers Pride bread and milk, materials evocative of comfort and a nostalgic memory of happy nuclear families that never really existed, I will reclaim space. I will reclaim my right to define my own borders, my own edges, my own limits and ultimately I will move closer to understanding what these are/where they lie.

Materials: 350 loaves Mothers Pride Bread, 120L Milk, 10m Red Shibari Rope, Mop, Buckets x 5.

9 hour performance.

Performed at Buzzcut Festival, Glasgow, 2017

I made a baby out of bread,

                 Moulding its flesh against my own.

                      Building connections forged through process, through  t i m e.

                        The bread an extension of my flesh,

                        The baby an extension of my body,

                                  (of our bodies)    

    Decomposing [transformational] matter- spread between across surfaces

                                                     my flesh a glue

                                                           b e t

                                                                  w

                                                                      e e n

                        here and there // me and you 

 Ph by Julia Bauer 

Words by Katie Manning

Which Way Do You Want to Go?

I ask this question more than you might think, mustering my best Muppet voice every time. And now my 4-year-old watchesLabyrinth as I did at his age, and I am becoming you: shuffling around the kitchen in the same style of open-toed house slippers that you always wore, baking chocolate rolls or biscuits. Yes, which way? The blue hands insist on an answer. Sometimes I look down at my hands and see yours kneading the dough.

I would choose this if I had a choice.

Originally published in Mom Egg Review vol. 16

Katie Manning is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Whale Road Review and an Associate Professor of Writing at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. She is the author of Tasty Other, which won the 2016 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, and four chapbooks, including The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman. Her poems have appeared in Fairy Tale Review, New Letters, Poet Lore, Verse Daily, and many journals and anthologies. Find her online at www.katiemanningpoet.com