an artist residency in motherhood

In 2019-2020, Yelena was pregnant with her first child. Her pregnancy was treated as normal, however, she developed severe pre-eclampsia and lost her child at 31 weeks. The disease went unnoticed despite reporting all symptoms until Yelena stopped feeling fetal movement for two days. Her daughter Feetje was stillborn on April 1st. After her daughter’s death, Yelena turned to the media to share her story. She found strength in seeking justice for her case against the health officials that did not intervene on time. However, Yelena did not want to reflect on this experience as an artist until she came across An Artist Residency in Motherhood. The open-minded setup of the residency and reflection on everyday life inspired Yelena to make art again. It dawned on Yelena that during the pregnancy everything around her was focused on money. She was swarmed with information about what to buy for her baby and heard nothing about what could go wrong. Even after her daughter’s cremation, Yelena was stalked by ads for new moms, while she had no child to take care of. It seemed like Yelena’s daughter only mattered as long as she was alive and had commercial value. In this project, Yelena introduces the under-discussed, taboo issue, of the right to be of the unborn child. The goal is to raise awareness about the difficulty of conception and pregnancy that does not always result in a living child that is more pressing to an increasingly large group of women. As well as expanding the discussion on human rights within the pro-choice movement to include a pro-life attitude as a feminist issue besides the focus on abortion. In this way, Yelena reacts to people's insensitive remarks which uncover that her child does not matter because she was born sleeping.

  • art
  • year: 2020-ongoing
  • medium: performalist self-portrait and performance video
  • dimensions: 15x15cm, video 1-30 minutes













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