New Public Art Project ‘Milkscapes’ Invites Conversation Around Invisible Work, Reproductive Health and Choice
Pictures by Steve Weinik
So happy to announce milk landscapes this week, a new public art project by the artist Aimee Gilmore created in collaboration with Maternity Care Coalition, Philadelphia wall artsand Streets Department Walls!
A series of flags lining the exterior of the Maternity Care Coalition’s Early Head Start building in 20th and Mifflin Streets in South Philadelphia, milk landscapes is part of an ongoing series that Aimee began in 2016 after the birth of her first child. Made by pouring a small amount of her breast milk onto a glass plate (the first case being due to accidental spillage after laborious pumping), these milk landscapes are created when milk dries into abstract shapes, highlighting otherwise invisible work.
Not so by chance, we decided to set up this project in August, which is National Breastfeeding Month. And the flags will stay up for at least a year until August 2023.
These flags provide an opportunity to reflect on the power of the human body from a unique perspective, scale and presentation. This is Aimee’s first time milk landscapes are presented as flags in this public installation, providing a timely and urgent starting point for conversations adjacent to mothering, including the need for the care economy, the right to choose, paid family leave and parental rights- students.
“As an artist, my work is a constant meditation on love, memory and the transitions of time”, Aimee wrote in a blog post for the Mural Arts website. “Channeled through the prism of motherhood, my primary artistic concerns are with the personal and collective stories that shape our daily lives and are often overlooked. Working across mediums, my practice interrogates how images, issues and objects closely associated with motherhood inform the socio-political structure of the care economy. I encourage you to read this full blog post here.
This project eventually became the public art project you see now after a fateful artist visit I made to Aimee’s studio about nine months ago. We talked about her work, her goals, and while we’ve browsed through much of her incredible artistic portfolio, we both kept coming back to the idea of bringing her over. milk landscapes on the streets of Philadelphia. Then I pitched the idea to Mural Arts to work with us as a funder, and Aimee contacted the Maternity Care Coalition to gauge their interest in collaborating with us as well. Both organizations enthusiastically said yes, and after several months of Zoom calls and whereabouts meetings, what we all originally thought would be a mural project turned into this vibrant flag. milk landscapes facility.
We dedicated the project this week, with Gabrielle Nelson from Maternity Care Coalition, who consulted Aimee and me throughout the project, as well as the CEO of Maternity Care Coalition, Marianne Fray and Managing Director of Mural Arts, Joan of gold.
About our partners: Since 1980, Maternity Care Coalition has partnered with more than 145,000 families throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, especially focusing on neighborhoods where rates of poverty, infant mortality, health disparities and of immigration are changing. Maternity Care Coalition’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of pregnant women and parenting families, and to improve school readiness for children ages 0-3. And for more than 35 years, Mural Arts has united artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural making, to create art that transforms public spaces and people’s lives.
These flags are provocative. They are meant to grab your attention and inspire conversation. And we invite you to join this conversation on August 31 (12:30 p.m. EST) at our milk landscapes Titled town hall zoom, The great American town hall disappointed for which you can register here!