Art exhibition at MediaCity celebrates childbirth

The shortlisted entries for the Birth Rites Collection’s bi-annual art prize will be showcased at the University of Salford’s MediaCityUK campus on Saturday 2 February.

The Birth Rites Collection was established by Helen Knowles, an artist and curator who aims to encourage a wider debate about the politics and practice of childbirth through the use of art. It was inspired by Helen’s contrasting experiences of giving birth to her first child by caesarean and her second at home.

The exhibition at MediaCityUK will feature the drawings, films, photographs and sculptures of 15 shortlisted artists from all over the world. The prize is a month at artistic retreat The Trelex Residency in Geneva (including the cost of flights and a stipend) plus a place in the Birth Rites Collection.

The short-listed artworks include Emma Lazenby’s BAFTA-winning short animation about a midwife, Mother of Many, photographs of women’s faces at the moment of birth by Dominika Dzikowska and YouTube videos of childbirth flanked by photographs of people watching them by Claire Lawrie.

The winner of the competition will be announced at the event by curator Helen Knowles and fellow judge Hermione Wiltshire, an artist and senior lecturer in photography at the Royal College of Art.

Helen said: “The taboo and often under-represented subject of birth has been shown to be of great importance as a topic for artists to explore, given the high amount of submissions to the competition and excellent standard of work. Imagery on this fundamental life-process is a great way for people to get to grips with what it means to give birth from the point of view of both men and women.

I am very excited to show these artworks on the screen in the University’s beautiful Egg suite at MediaCityUK.”

The main Birth Rites Collection is housed at the University of Salford and the Royal College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians in London.

Birth Rites, Saturday 2 February, 10.00am – 4.00pm, The Egg, University of Salford, MediaCityUK. Prize to be awarded at 2pm.

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