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Miriel Smith's avatar Miriel Smith

Nurture is a diptych of my daughters tandem nursing. I wanted each girl to have their own panel, framing each individually to focus on their personal needs for nursing. I chose to have my head cropped and my body divided by the space in between the paintings to keep the focus on them. After all, nursing has been and always will be about them. I also wanted to capture the sibling bond that tandem nursing offers by showing them in almost mirror like symmetry gazing at one another. (A common occurrence when they nurse at the same time.) The title Nurture is meant to evoke many levels of the meaning. This artwork represents a mother nurturing her children in any phase of life whether for nourishment, security or growth. The painting also represents the nurturing of relationships and the bond of sisterhood. Above all Nurture is a call out to humanity to act in supporting something that is pure and innocent that in our society has become a complex issue. Mothers are afraid to leave home with their baby for fear that their baby will need to eat while they are out. Mothers are closet nursing their toddlers in fear of being judged. This most important basic need for security and nourishment for babies and toddlers must be protected. Images of women nursing are just a small step towards normalizing breastfeeding. (To think something as pure and natural as birth itself needs to be normalized!) We need to start de-sexualizing breasts in our society and cultivate our mother’s and children’s basic need to bond and stay connected. Just this summer Michigan became the 46th state to pass a law protecting nursing mothers from discrimination in public spaces. The “Breastfeeding Anti-discrimination Act” is a step in the right direction to encourage and support mothers who wish to exclusively breastfeed their babies. At least now when a woman is harassed or asked to leave a public place for breastfeeding she can respond by saying, “The law supports me.” Hopefully more women will feel comfortable nursing in public and will help to pave the way for future generations. I encourage all moms to feed your baby where ever and when ever your baby is hungry.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 2-D
  • Depth: 2 inches
  • Medium: Water mixable oil on Canvas
  • Width: 46 inches
  • Year created: 2014
  • Height: 28 inches