pregnancy, birthwork, and life
a group show in collaboration with Birthworkers of Color Collective
June 26 - October 1, 2022
Suggested donation at the door
Community rate: $10-20
Abundance rate: $30-$40
All proceeds benefit nonprofits serving the community.
Ceremony according to the dictionary is defined as: a formal act or series of acts prescribed by ritual, protocol, or convention.
This exhibit captures the ways that pregnancy, birthwork, and life: including the acts of parenting, activism, spiritual practices, and existing in our bodies are ceremonies in themselves.
This community exhibit is a collaboration with Birthworkers of Color Collective & Sovern LA to intentionally highlight the work and sacredness of healers, birthworkers, birthing people, and artists. Bringing together various visual and performative mediums, we feature work from 10 local artists: Fei Hernandez, Ever Velasquez, Cindy Bonaparte, Raina Beigler, Jasmine Godinez-Gomez, ThaooAishat Hasati, Udita Upadhyaya, Carneice Colvin, Gabrielle Chen, and Tricia Taper.
Curated by Stevie Merino, a cultural practitioner, birthworker, parent, and currently in a year of her own spiritual ceremony. Reflecting on two tensions in the United states: 1) how birthwork is often seen as a luxury and accessible only for certain people rather than a traditional practice and 2) how birth is approached as a medical emergency rather than a natural process. She envisioned an offering that would continue the work of dismantling the harmful approaches and offering counter-perspectives through art and community. In the Ceremonies: Pregnancy, Birthwork, and Life show, we present alternatives, the traditions, the advocacy, and the ceremonies that these things are and can truly be.
SOME OF OUR FEATURED ARTISTS
Cindy Bonaparte is a Los Angeles based healing practice artist and community educator whose work is rooted in epistemic disobedience. She received her MFA in Social & Environmental Arts Practice from Prescott College as part of the inaugural cohort. Her ongoing decolonial praxis is grounded in her doula and ancestral womb healing practices. Her interest in arts education is in sensing where the visual arts and the politics of care intersect.
"I see the womb as a physical and energetic divination tool available to anyone. It is an empowering portal into the ancestral world of the past and into the future. My healing practice is an artistic practice of care informed by connecting to the womb."
Image at top of page:
Salt Water Midwife: Aunt Dora Green & Comfrey is a digital collage which sources an archival photo of Aunt Dora Greene of Eufaula Alabama from the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Document 36. Little is known about her individual history. Her identity was not the main focus of this work as the intention was to create an icon capturing the essence and energy of Mami Wata carried by Black midwives in their practices.
Raina Beigler is a Black, queer, collage artist, birthworker, herbalist and fantasy book lover. When she is not cuddling her dog Luna, she is clearing her mind with the magic that is collage. Collage art has allowed her the space to truly empty her mind and turn her jumbled thoughts into beautiful pieces of art.
Jasmine Godinez-Gomez is a Birthworker, Griefworker, and Designer, based in Long Beach, California. She is the creator of mirroredheart LLC, where she offers Full Spectrum Doula services as well as handcrafted design. Jasmine’s work is influenced by her lived experience as a mother and bereaved parent, and is inspired by all things birth, pregnancy, grief, and loss.
Jasmine strives to live by her personal motto, of Ritual+Reflection, which is the belief that we
can move forward through life’s waves by creating meaningful rituals and practicing mindful
(b. 1981, Los Angeles, CA) is an artist and curandera based in Los Angeles.
Known for her performative work, her photos and collage, Ever's work uses the visual language and conceptual framework of Yoruba religious culture to explore the legacy of colonialism and its interweaving with indigenous spiritual traditions.
ThaooAishat Hasati is an artist that was born in Seattle, WA and currently resides in Inglewood, CA working from her home office. Creating art has been a passion of hers since she was a very young girl with early memories of tracing pictures from her favorite books and creating detailed drawings of fashionable ladies.
She became more disciplined in her craft in high school, had the opportunity to travel to Russia in an art exchange program and went on to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
She works with watercolor, oil and acrylic paints, charcoal and ink pens. She draws inspiration from the human form, different cultures around the world, textiles and nature. She illustrated her first children's book, On Mammas Back, in 2021. She is a wife and mother of 6 including her bonus son and is also a homeschooler, birth worker and budding herbalist.
is a trans, Inglewood-raised, formerly undocumented immigrant author of the full-length poetry collection Hood Criatura (Sundress Publications 2020), which was on NPR’s Best Books of 2020. They are a Define American Fellow for 2021 and are currently the Board President of Gender Justice Los Angeles. They have been published in POETRY, Autostraddle, Immigrant Report, The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext, forthcoming Somewhere We are Human, and more. féi is the founder of The House of Etéreo a spiritual domain for spiritual practitioners. Recently, féi launched Spirit School for the Divinely Gifted (within The House of Etéreo) which centers spiritual teachings for TGNC BIPOC practitioners.
is a Fujian-Burmese artist creating in Huntington Beach. Gabrielle’s works often feature boldly lettered phrases intended to uplift people’s spirits. Gabrielle gets inspiration from Buddhist prayers for non-violence and loving kindness for all beings. Gabrielle studied Psychology at Loyola University of Chicago to pursue her interest in human connection. Gabrielle has been collaborating with Birth Workers of Color Collective since 2019. Gabrielle is a proud mother of a precious 1 month old and a wonderful 4 year old. Updates and more information available online at www.luckyrooster.rest
is a multidisciplinary artist, born in Moline, Illinois, currently based in Los Angeles. Carneice received a BFA from The Art the Institute of Chicago in 2020 and is currently enrolled at Claremont Graduate School in the M.Ed. Community Engaged Education & Social Change program. In 2019 Carneice began their four year MESA agroecology fellowship through California State University Northridge. This partnership with CSUN has led to the development of a carbon sequestration fiber farmlet where Carneice is currently growing flax to process into linen. Their practice exists at the intersection of art, sustainability, and community engagement. Often manifested in the form of fiber arts, arts education and gardening workshops, Carneice’s work leans into play and experimentation.
At the center of Carneice’s practice are the questions, "what do I see?" and "how can I transform it?". Taking notice of and collecting things left behind, Carneice utilizes worn and discarded items as raw materials to create something entirely new. Plant waste is twisted and tied and given a new form, or reworked into natural dyes or paper. Through Carneice’s crafting processes, these found materials are recycled to produce an abundance of objects and materials that are 100% compostable. Each of these experiments with waste materials holds a similar destiny, to disintegrate and return to the Earth from which it was harvested.
is an Underwater Photographer. The pieces shown here today are from her pregnancy series. The images were inspired to shed light on the beauty of being pregnant. Tapers last pregnancy was anything but beautiful and when she decided to try again through surrogacy her art helped create the most beautiful rainbow baby boy, Miles, who is now 2 years old. She believes in the healing power of water, art and positive imagery.
is an interdisciplinary artist, researcher and educator. Upadhyaya works with the principles of Vipassana meditation to uncover the trajectories of desire, craving, trauma, shame and their many intersections. Her work spans live art, devised theatre, performative photographs, sculpture, installation, video, writing, text, and fiber arts.
About the organizations:
Birthworkers of Color Collective began as a doula of Color training in Long Beach in June of 2017 and has since grown as a collective of birthworkers from across the country and beyond human made borders. We are rooted in community, activism, and center BIPOC in all that we do. We offer culturally relevant and inclusive support and resources through all pregnancy and postpartum outcomes to individuals, families, and their communities. We conduct workshops and trainings to share knowledge, promote advocacy, build resources & expand the number of trained/competent/& culturally relevant doulas.
Sovern LA is an intersectional community center and 501c3 non-profit founded in 2020 to address inequity and exclusion in wellness and art, to address the colonization of spirituality and white spiritual bypassing in wellness. In 2021 Sovern opened a multi-pronged center in the heart of LA’s West Adams district to create a majority POC space that centers the healing and upliftment of Black and Indigenous women+ and gender non-binary people. Sovern offers year round, fully donation based art and wellness programming designed to improve our community's mental health and well-being. We champion up-and-coming artists, healers, and activists of color through our classes, workshops, markets, art shows, artist in residence space, and affordable office space rental.