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May we suggest

Agenda / January 09–March 04, 2020
Editors' Pick

Heather Passmore: Roman Charity

Heather Passmore, <em>Last Nurse</em>. Heather Passmore, Last Nurse (detail), 2018. Screen print on linen, 60 x 60 in.
Vernon Public Art Gallery

3228 31st Avenue

Vernon, British Columbia


January 09–March 04, 2020

Editors' Comment

Many circles of the art world like to think of themselves as open-minded—but the breastfeeding of babies in art spaces, and other public and semi-public spaces, can still seem taboo. (See: the breastfeeding protest Mexico City’s Museum of Modern Art in November.) This remains so despite the fact, too, that there is a whole genre of historical European art focused on the “nursing madonna”—idealized images, mainly created by those who have never breastfed a baby themselves, of mother and child. Vancouverite Heather Passmore is an artist who has been working to increase the profile of mothers in the contemporary sphere, in part through her work with the Vancouver group Art Mamas, and also through a practice that has integrated her own breastmilk and breastfeeding experience as form and content. In “Roman Charity,” we see, as the gallery puts it, “three large self (effaced) portraits on fabric depicting the last time Passmore nursed her daughter, and images of mothers covering their faces instead of their breasts while breastfeeding. The images are based on photographs that circulated on social media in protest to admonishment that mothers should cover up while nursing in public.” Effacement, of course, is another dynamic of caregiving particularly well-known to many mothers, and one I’m glad is addressed here. —Leah Sandals