University of Tasmania

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Broken Bodies: From Narrative to Art

posted on 2023-05-26, 12:44 authored by Jennifer AytonJennifer Ayton, Leigh TeschLeigh Tesch, Eva NilssenEva Nilssen, Wilson, ER, Miller, J, Grant, N, Burne, E
The research was undertaken to explore women’s everyday experiences of feeding their young babies and the reasons behind declining rates of breastfeeding in Australia. Fusing empirical research data with creativity gives voice to the meanings in the womens’ narratives and returns their stories to the community. Importantly, the variation in the works provides an avenue for the mother’s voices to be heard outside academia and scientific discourse. What is revealed and shared is a deep sense of personal loss and joy and the tensions between these two emotions. The art works are as complex as the mothers’ narratives and thus pay tribute to the strength of the women, the variation in their stories and the realities of feeding and motherhood. Each piece of sculpture, video, sound or performance offers the viewer an opportunity to peak behind the curtain, and see the hidden realities of breastfeeding. The exhibition questions how the maternal breastfeeding body fits into the social landscape of women’s lives today. Broken Bodies highlights the ethical importance of sustaining empathy for deeply embodied practices such as breastfeeding and motherhood. The artists’ works stem from the data and speak equally to concepts of disembodiment and embodiment, asking the viewer to accept diversity and refrain from judgment. In translating the empirical data into art, we take a bold step forward and make progress towards engaging a dialogue with the reality of womens’ experiences.


Publication title

Curated Exhibition Catalogue


Tasmanian School of Medicine


Plimsol Gallery

Event Venue


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Behaviour and health; Expanding knowledge in creative arts and writing studies; Expanding knowledge in human society

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