Mothers Right- banner

Mother's Right montage

Live through May 31, 2015, the MOTHER’S RIGHT Kickstarter campaign supports artist Michelle Hartney’s conceptual installation and performance piece addressing the United States’ high rates of maternal mortality, paired with its high obstetrics spending—culminating with a performance this Labor Day, September 7, 2015, in Chicago.

Hartney is sewing 1,200 hospital gowns—one for every mother who died in childbirth in America in 2013—each hand silk-screened on apparent hospital-gown fabric, but with designs composed of tiny drawings the artist has created of the plant derivatives of the drugs that have been used on laboring women for the past 150 years. Kickstarter campaign incentives for supporters include an installation of ten MOTHER’S RIGHT gowns, having your name (or the name of someone you choose) being sewn into one of the gowns used for the performance piece and installation, a 6 x 6 inch round framed tondo piece of the silk-screened fabric, a sterling silver MOTHER’S RIGHT necklace, a limited edition installation drawing Hartney created for the project, a set of ten, lined correspondence cards, and a personal thank you note with a piece of the hand silk-screened fabric, among others, all designed by Hartney.

In the Labor Day performance, several pairs of women will stand facing one other, folding the handmade gowns into triangles—similar to the way the American flag is folded at the funeral of a solider. The traditional flag-folding ceremony includes twelve symbolic folds, with the ninth fold symbolizing womanhood. These custom-made hospital gowns have been cut to a length where the fabric stops on the ninth fold. The third chapter in Hartney’s Obstetrics in America series—preceded by Our Past and Birth Words, exploring contemporary American birth’s history which is rooted in misogyny, racism, and abuse—MOTHER’S RIGHT seeks to bring awareness to some of the basic human rights that are being violated on a daily basis in the United States.



Michelle Hartney -Mother's Right