Concord Village Workshop 1
In response to Tracy Hogg
"From our Mothers" is a traveling, expanding, library consisting of illustrated books and other visual materials created by mothers. It is an artistic space for support, dialogue and realization that challenges the misconceptions and stereotypes around parenthood by providing mothers with an alternative platform to express and tell their stories through the visual arts. The project is the first of it’s kind and scope; a unique exchange between Brooklyn based artists, non-profit organizations supporting vulnerable families and mothers across the United States. The general public often overlooks the plight of the American mother, one that spans across socio-economic backgrounds and races. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation not to mandate paid maternal leave; families are geographically scattered; medical treatment is extremely costly and this country is one of the only entirely lacking in a culture of postpartum care. Mothers are left lost in a range of areas from the tangible/practical issues such as breast-feeding, to the abstract questions like how to juggle motherhood and a career and how to fit in to this new identity of “mother”. “From our Mothers” enables mothers to address and process these issues, while exposing them to new art forms of expression
Diana Gilon has begun implementing workshops in downtown Brooklyn at Concord Village Housing Development. Local mother-participants created collages from magazine clippings, that highlighted misconceptions, dreams, personas and fears they faced and then discussed the results. Their babies also attended. A network of local artist mothers are helping co-facilitate the workshops and will be creating a series of paintings from the collages made thus far. Many of the collages produced are also being adhered back into publications they came from and placed amidst the normal scattering of women’s magazines in waiting rooms of OB gyn offices around Manhattan and the five boroughs. Future workshops will be held at Excellence Baby Academy locations. This is an organization in Bushwick that provides early literacy, school readiness, and parenting education programs to families with children ages zero to four years living in underserved communities. Mothers from the initial workshops will participate in events in other boroughs to connect families across New York City.
Scope: As the workshops increase, “From our Mother’s” will cultivate and travel to each new location a workshop is being held. The materials within the library will also expand from collage, to video and paintings sparked from the initiative and will exist in both the traditional artistic venue and alternative public space including public libraries and women’s health clinics. By highlighting and connecting the personal triumphs and struggles of mothers across the city through the visual arts, “From our Mothers” aims to spark a national discourse to support mothers that does not stop at postpartum depression. This project goes beyond documenting and retelling mothers’ experiences, it transforms mothers into artists and promotes necessary introspection during a vulnerable period.
This poster was inspired by conversations that occurred during the first FOM workshop regarding the idealization of breastfeeding. This poster is a satire of a painting "The Virgin Mary Nursing her Child" by Hans Memling. In Diana's version the Virgin Mary is replaced by an indigenous Indonesian mother.