There are 2.6 million stillbirths a year worldwide, yet women and their families going through it often feel very isolated. The taboo surrounding stillbirth makes it hard for people to share their experiences. With my work I want to help raise public awareness of stillbirth and reduce the attached stigma and help families to grieve better.
In 2010 I gave birth to a stillborn daughter, Elvira. Since then I have been making artwork about, and informed by, this experience. The artworks in the Still Born exhibition chart the different stages of grief. Denial and anger are represented in the early porcelain uterus pieces and Tree of Sadness, made in 2013, highlights feelings of deep sadness and isolation. In the more recent works I have been able to take more distance and approach the subject matter as a societal problem, not just a personal one. Society has much work to do before it can say babies no longer die unnecessarily and when they do die parents are supported.
With the help of Arts Council funding, crowdfunding and support from project partners Manchester University (Alexander Heazell) and Northern Print in 2017/18, we published the Still Born book with poems in direct response to the artworks by Roger Bloor, Christine Bousfield, Jennie Farley, Rebecca Goss, Sarah James, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Claire Potter and Wendy Pratt.
We would now like to tour this body of work and poems to three UK venues this year: the Newcastle City Library in May, the Idea Store London in June/July and the St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester in August 2020. We need two thousand pounds to exhibit the work for one month at the Newcastle City Library and hold a free art workshop for bereaved parents and their family, allowing them to create a memorial for their still born baby. For five thousand pounds we can also to bring the exhibition and workshop to the Idea Store London and the St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester. Please help us by donating to this important cause.