Wednesday 20 November 2019
A fascinating and visually stunning sculpture currently on exhibition at the Geelong Library & Heritage Centre allows visitors to encounter ‘the biggest placenta in the world’.
The sculpture, which represents a human placenta complete with umbilical cord and ‘birthing suit’, measures three metres in diameter and weighs about 150 kilograms. It was created from around 900 reclaimed t-shirts which have been tie-dyed red and knitted together by a group of female crafters, led by artist Rebecca Vandyk. The sculpture took almost three years to complete.
Since it was ‘birthed’ in Warragul, Victoria in May this year, the sculpture has toured Australia and is on exhibition at a public library for the first time at the Geelong Library & Heritage Centre.
The purpose of the sculpture is to provide a monument to women’s work, particularly work which is often hidden or not spoken of. Rebecca Vandyk explains:
“The purpose of this giant placenta sculpture is to increase understanding about the role and extreme importance of the placenta in pregnancy...to increase the awareness of the body investment of the mother, whose blood supply increases by 50% for every day she is pregnant, just to supply the placenta’s demands.”
“Following birth, the new mother expends more bodily energy in feeding and nurturing (whether she breastfeeds or not), including a huge increase in laundry work! Thus this giant red sculpture, made of soft textiles created with a technique often associated with a mother or a grandmother (creative making and knitting), has become a monument to women’s work.”
Geelong Regional Libraries is committed to providing access to information about health and wellness, stimulating conversations about topics of importance to the community, and supporting community art projects.
The impressive community-led artwork is beautifully tactile and is designed to be touched. Visitors can even don the ‘birthing suit’! However, please take care to be gentle and do not allow children to climb or lean on the structure.
The sculpture will be on exhibition on the ground floor of the Geelong Library & Heritage Centre until Tuesday 3 December.
This exhibition is brought to you by Arts and Health Gippsland and [knitted by] the #placentaproject team. More information can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org
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