Birth Rites Collection

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Mother No.52

Jonathan Waller, 1997, Charcoal, gouache, pastel, spray paint, and shellac on paper

184 x 117 cm.


Extract from a catalogue essay by Mary Rose Beaumont, May 1998


‘The miracle of a new life, a time for rejoicing, congratulations from friends and family. That is the acceptable face of childbirth. What is not seen and seldom referred to is the blood, sweat, toil and tears that have been expended in order that this miracle should come to pass. Only the woman and her helper, the midwife, and now frequently the father of the child, have participated in the long drawn out agony of labour and parturition. Jonathan Waller was present throughout the 37 hour labour of his wife Ruth before she gave birth to their daughter Eva four years ago, and the powerful emotions that he felt during this painful period have inspired him to make a series of works exclusively on the subject of birth.’

Mother No.52, 1997