Fall 2020 Art Gallery Exhibition

Anthropology of Motherhood: Culture of Care

About the Exhibition


The Anthropology of Motherhood: Culture of Care exhibition features works of art that engage in the complex visual, material, emotional, corporeal, and lived experiences of motherhood, caregiving, parenting, nurturing, and maternal labor. AOM: Culture of Care presents a slate of artists that embrace the labor of care as “right and rewarding work.” Through video, sculpture, painting, and photography, the works presented address maternal identities with birth as a metaphor for regeneration, creation and renewal.

When Fran Flaherty curated the first Anthropology of Motherhood exhibition in 2014 for the Three Rivers Arts Festival, she did not anticipate how startlingly vital and relevant such an endeavor would be amidst a global pandemic in 2020. Yet, Fran’s beautifully radical exhibition, which is centered on the idea that societies should lead through gestures of care, provides a necessary grounding and reorientation during this unsettling time. While the show was originally produced as an aesthetic experience for nursing mothers functioning also as a space of respite and community, it has grown into a broader exploration of care-giving.

The Anthropology of Motherhood: Culture of Care is on view at the Carlow University Art Gallery after celebrating its fifth year as part of the Three Rivers Arts Festival. Normally a functional, hybrid exhibition that is innovatively designed as both an art space, an interactive nursing amenity, and a place of respite for families with young children, this year’s exhibition has been reimagined in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amy Bowman-McElhone, PhD, Curator; Fran Flaherty, Founder and Curator; Sara Tang, Digital Content Curator; Katie Winter, Curatorial Assistant