Breastfeeding – An Urgent Topic in Contemporary Society
To complement Pearce’s first London exhibition Breastfeed (1 March - 1 April), Leyden Gallery will host talks and discussions over the course of the following month. Our guests/panellists will address breastfeeding as a subject pertinent to this moment, one that opens the world of discussion and larger debate. With the public opinion generally divided, either being overprotective or critical of this act, many seem to forget the functional, maternal value of breastfeeding. As the focus is shifted toward the negative stories that approach breastfeeding from a judgemental point of view, there is a need to create a counterbalance and understand what it means to be a breastfeeding mother in 21st century.
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About the artist: Leanne Pearce looks at breastfeeding both from a personal and professional standing point. Guided by her own experience of being a mother of two daughters, she takes on the subject of maternity and its relation to the contemporary society. The image of a mother feeding her child has many historical references, one of the most famous being the religious motive of Madonna and Child. Yet, public breastfeeding appears to remain a controversy in the modern world. The increasing interest in this subject matter stems from the contrast between female power and vulnerability, the intimacy of the moment, the challenge of motherhood and the male gaze that tends to sexualise female breasts. Through her paintings, Pearce aims to portray this precious maternal bond in flesh and to reshape our perception of breastfeeding. She depicts herself with her children and other mothers with their babies in the moment that makes them equally strong and fragile. Ultimately, Pearce embodies the lightness of being a mother and an artist at the same time.