Capturing birth on canvass
London Community News
Canada’s only fine-artist painting live experiences of birth will exhibit The Birth Project in London this Friday (Sept. 21). Amanda Greavette’s life-size canvasses are referred to as bold, unapologetic and beautifully primal.
Her work is a part of a dialogue and movement that is creating change for childbearing women in Canada. Midwifery clinics are at capacity across Ontario, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced funding for two free-standing birth centres and London Health Sciences Centre’s new birthing centre is equipped with Jacuzzi tubs for labouring mothers. Women are better informed and self-advocating for alternatives to the medical model for childbirth.
Greavette’s The Birth Project highlights the poignant psychological and political shift in Canadian birthing culture. She paints birth because it is a profound and powerful experience for any woman; a pivotal experience that reshapes identity.
She attends labours of women that she knows in her Muskoka community, and captures the physical, emotional and spiritual elements of childbirth without a softening lens.
Yet, it’s the women’s expressions that are particularly captivating. Their minds, tied to their bodies’ rhythms, are thoughtful, focused, determined and jubilant. Greavette’s paintings reveal what cannot be captured in photography or film.
Even images of challenging or unexpected circumstances validate women’s birth experiences. Greavette paints one woman with an IV line and another with oxygen tubes and a blue hospital curtain backdrop. The art invites women to revisit, reframe and grasp the life-giving experience they had.
The Birth Project public artist reception is hosted by the Birth and Beyond Conference and will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. at Four Points by Sheraton London. Everyone is welcome. Free admission.