The Birth Project PaintingsStatement
The Birth Project Paintings are a series of life-size figurative paintings of women, and specifically women experiencing the transition to motherhood. I’m interested in how women navigate the dramatic process of childbearing and how it shapes and changes their identity. I aim to create work that is provocative, beautiful and heavy with emotion and symbol. The paintings represent an intensely personal but simultaneously universal and ageless experience. Much beauty and drama is lived through a woman’s body, in ways that can be both empowering and debilitating.
I love to visually explore the human body, painting its inherent beauty and capturing a personality or laying out a narrative. The images are sometimes shocking, realistically depicting women labouring or giving birth. I love to embellish and re-contextualize the birthing woman to create a narrative or add symbolism and to convey emotion. I’m drawn to the physicality and rawness of birth, but also the trans-formative effect it has. Historically the birthing female has been a symbol of fertility, abundance, health and wealth, but birth remains a marginalized area of the life of a woman in contemporary culture. While motherhood is an often sentimentalized subject, in reality it is an emotionally-charged, labour-intensive and often belittled role. The pieces I make have a narrative that unfolds according to the viewers’ own experiences, but also represent aspects of the larger story of women’s history. I hope the viewer can pause to consider what these images can mean to them, considering or in spite or their own stories.
Evolution and Participation
The Birth Project Painting series began after my interest in pregnancy and birth flowered after the birth of my firstborn. In becoming involved in the community serving women, and over my subsequent 3 pregnancies and births and some doula training, this interest has only magnified. I'm absolutely fascinated with the birth process and the transition to motherhood. For the series I use photos collected from various sources. Some are from my own births, some are from the births I've been lucky enough to attend and photograph. Some are submitted to me by friends and family, and women who I've never met but who've come across my project via the internet. I welcome submissions at any time, please email me through the contact form, or at email@example.com.
While I paint birth because I love it, I hope the paintings and their images can creatively and effectively tell womens' stories. I hope they can be a medium to inspire confidence and positivity in women who are approaching pregnancy and motherhood. I want them to be a part of a dialogue and movement that creates change for childbearing women, raising public awareness of issues surrounding birth and dispelling myths and misinformation.
The Birth Project Paintings are based on experiences, both mine and those shared with my by women in my community and around the world. In order to represent a variety of women, experiences, births and contexts authentically I rely on women to share their stories. Submissions of photographs and stories can be sent to me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you chose to share your images with me, you are agreeing to the following as the contributor/volunteer:
- The images are saved to my personal library archives. These images are not shared with the public. They are for the sole purpose of painting inspiration. I endeavor to respect your privacy.
- I may or may not use the photos to directly create a painting. Unless a commission is requested I do not guarantee that they will become a painting. If the photos are not used directly to create a painting, they often contribute to paintings in less obvious but equally important ways. I like to consider all stories and experiences when expanding the series.
- There are no parameters for contributions. All birth experiences are ok. All women are welcome to participate.
- You grant me rights to re-create your image, edit the photos and reproduce your likeness, or change it as I see fit. I do attempt to respect your image and feelings about your birth experience, and I resolve to not harm or defame the contributor. Contributors remain anonymous unless they wish to be named.
- I retain the right to exhibit, sell and reproduce the paintings.
- If a completed painting draws largely on a contribution, the volunteer has the same opportunity to buy the original along with the rest of the public. There is no obligation to purchase.
- The Birth Project Paintings often includes nudity. Be ok with that :)
If you have questions please contact me.
Reproduction and Usage
The paintings are large-the figures are life-size. As a professional artist, I paint them as art pieces with the intent to display them and sell them. However, I appreciate that many viewers enjoy the images and would like to display them in work-spaces that serve women; so I've made prints available for purchase.
I've received several inquiries about using my images in various ways; for example on websites and presentations. Please contact me if you are interested in doing so, as my work is protected by copyright. Please also understand that under Canadian Copyright Law, and as an artist I have the right to charge fees for the reproduction of my work. As an artist my 'work' is not simply limited to the object I make. Just as there are fees to use stock photos or professional photos, there are set fees for various types of reproduction of my paintings. I would love to see my work made more available to the public, and used in ways that serve women,so please contact me to discuss this.
The Birth Project Paintings can be booked to complement conferences and exhibitions as a 'guest artist' or 'guest exhibit'. Please contact Amanda at email@example.com for information and rates.