I will host a one-day photographic event open to the public at Project for Empty Space in Newark, NJ, called Seeing Breastfeeding. This project would be an all-day event held in the front gallery space in which breastfeeding mothers of Newark, and surrounding areas, would be invited to sit for a free studio portrait while breastfeeding their child. Breastfeeding is a vital, beautiful, and connective act that is still unsupported in many areas of women’s lives -- the workplace, the government, by commercial industries, in hospitals and medical centers, and even in their homes by their own partners or families. My goal is to further the awareness of the beauty and importance of breastfeeding, and to, in particular, empower the mothers of the Newark area to be even more proud of breastfeeding their children.
Practically, this event will be open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, and the studio will be set up in the window space of PES so that passers-by can observe and learn from the agency of these women. Mothers will be invited to have their portrait taken in whatever manner is most comfortable, exposing their breasts or keeping their chests more covered. This project is intended to make breastfeeding mothers feel supported and proud, no matter how they choose to do it. The event will be promoted through various local Facebook groups, such as Black Women Do Breastfeed, Best for Babes Foundation, the Center for Parenting Artists, the New Jersey Breastfeeding Coalition, as well through local medical centers.
Each sitter will receive a printable JPEG file, with permission to make reprints for themselves, along with two 5”x7” prints, at no charge.
Additionally, several groups and services will be invited to table at the portrait event, or share resources there, including: Planned Parenthood, Black Women Do Breastfeed, Best for Babes Foundation, Newark WIC Program, University Hospital Newark Breastfeeding Mothers’ Group and others.
Funded by Jumbos (February 2017)