The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

M.A.M.A. Issue 47 Henny Burnett and Sarah Freligh

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Procreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 47th edition of this scholarly discourse. Literature intersects with art to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the academic, the para-academic, the digital and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA #artandmotherhood
Art: Henny Burnett
Poem: Sarah Freligh

Henny Burnett
365 Days of Plastic (2020-2021)

365 Days of Plastic is an installation and sculpture that is cast in pink dental plaster. It demonstrates one year’s worth of plastic food packaging from a single household, which is both simultaneously beautiful and horrific. This is a disturbing view of one typical family’s environmental impact. The work plays with the ambiguity of outcome and interpretation – domestic and industrial, beautiful and ugly, useful and useless.
Cast dental plaster. 3 m x 4 m.

I make objects that respond to the domestic and the everyday. In 365 Days of plastic I used multiples of cast single use plastic food packaging to form a large scale installation. The making of the work involved the endless repetitive task of casting over 800 pieces. Repetitive tasks often feature in my work and reference those daily domestic chores we all do and which seemed to dominate life even more under lockdown. In our household we separate our recycling and I could see that the amount of single use plastic was forever increasing during lockdown.

I was horrified by the quantity, but also became fascinated by the patterns and textures. As a sculptor I could see the potential of using them as moulds.
I documented the weekly quantity of plastic used in my household during 2020. In the final installation there are 760 individual cast pieces, which represents an average of 2 per day from a household that fluctuated between 2 and 4 people during 2020.

I see 365 Days of Plastic simultaneously as both beautiful, and horrific. It plays with an ambiguity of outcome and interpretation. It could be domestic or industrial, useful or useless. Or both beautiful and ugly.

The different scales and textures formed through casting create a panoramic view of containers. The positive and negative spaces play equal importance.
The making of the work coincided with the pandemic, so it functions for me as a marker of time, and of the containment itself. It also asks questions about our disposable society, consumerism and our dependency on plastics. Britain is the worst consumer in Europe of single use plastics.

The installation can be arranged in many different ways, depending on the demands of the given site. The current install at York Art Gallery covers a wall 4 meters wide and three meters high. I chose dental plaster because of it’s finer quality and ability to pick up every detail from the surface of the packaging. I also like the conceit that, as it’s used to cast teeth, there’s a link to eating and food.

365 Days of Plastic was one of twenty pieces shortlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2021 and is currently showing at York Art Gallery until 5th September 2021.


Henny Burnett is a mixed media artist who lives and works in Bristol and London. She attended Byam Shaw and Edinburgh Colleges of Art. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, undertaking residencies in Italy and Britain. She has won awards from Juliet Gomperts Trust, The British council, ACE and travel grants to Canada and USA. Recently a finalist for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2021 and awarded a commission for new work by Procreate Project funded by ACE.https://www.axisweb.org/p/hennyburnett/ https://www.instagram.com/hennyburnett/

 

 

Sarah Freligh

Snow Baby

 

Her girl is disappearing, erased daily by the wan heat of a January sun. Her cold only child, the daughter she palmed into life out of snow and hope after the others were wrung out of her, little white dishrags. Afterward, the white space where she’d been stranded. Every day a blizzard in her brain, a windowless room until she flexed her fingers and built her girl. Please come inside, her husband begs her nightly. But no, not yet. Here is a pink hat, daughter. Can you see how I’m trying to save you?

 

 


Sarah Freligh is the author of Sad Math, winner of the 2014 Moon City Press Poetry Prize and the 2015 Whirling Prize from the University of Indianapolis. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Sun Magazine, SmokeLong Quarterly, Cincinnati Review and in the anthology New Microfiction: Exceptionally Short Stories (W.W. Norton, 2018). She was the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2009.

From MER 17 (2019).

 

 

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