The Breastfeeding Art Expo with a variety of works from artists around the interior opens July 27 at the Vernon Public Art Gallery and Gallery Vertigo. It will be at both galleries until Sept. 28. (Renée Leveille/Baby Bliss Photography)

Artists celebrate breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Art Expo is a celebration of community, art and breastfeeding

  • Jul. 26, 2017 4:30 a.m.

Cara Brady

Morning Star Staff

Women have been breastfeeding their babies forever but there has never been an art exhibit focusing only on the beauty and meaning of breastfeeding.

“This exhibit is a celebration of the wonder, peace and nurturing of breastfeeding and some sadness, remembering and hope for the future,” said Karen Graham, a public health dietician with Interior Health, one of the originators of the Breastfeeding Art Expo, which has a free opening reception Thursday at the Vernon Public Art Gallery and Gallery Vertigo.

“As far as I have been able to find out, there has never been another project like this anywhere in the world. So many people worked together to make this happen.”

The event features work from new and well-known artists in community and independent projects, including photography, video and a variety of mediums.

Graham brought her idea to Interior Health manager of population health Heather Deegan three years ago and they started discussions with a steering committee of representatives of community organizations and artists. Sponsors include the Vancouver Foundation and 35 community partners.

“We did not envision that this project would grow so large. We put out a call for artists and we didn’t know how many women and men would respond and what they wanted to contribute. We have 15 communities involved, with 200 participants, including 65 independent artists, expressing the theme in art of all kinds — poetry, dance, pottery and sculpture,” said Graham. “It was exciting to see the passion of the community involved in an arts project. The youngest participant was 10 years old and the other participants are of all ages and backgrounds. Each piece tells its own story in a different way.

“We had a really amazing opening in Kelowna. This is a phenomenal show. We have had nothing but positive comments. People from across Canada are contacting us about how they can set up an arts/health project. This could be used for any health topic and we are writing a teachers’ guide and how-to guide to tell what we have learned.”

Graham said that while breastfeeding is now encouraged and recognized for its many benefits for babies, mothers, families and the community, mothers who can’t breastfeed, for any reason, should not feel bad. They can provide many of breastfeeding’s benefits, such as skin-to-skin contact, through their choices of feeding in other ways.

Area partners are The Enderby and District Community Resource Centre, Okanagan Indian Band, Runaway Moon Theatre Arts Society, Splatsin Health Services (Splatsin First Nations), Vernon and District Immigrant Services Society, Vernon Breastfeeding Café, and Vernon First Nations Friendship Centre.

This is the first joint show for the Vernon Public Art Gallery and Gallery Vertigo, and Graham thanks VPAG curator Lubos Culen and Vertigo curator Brigitte Red for their support and cooperation.

The Breastfeeding Art Expo will go on to shows in Southern Interior Centres, ending in the fall of 2018. The works, some of which are for sale or have been donated, will be on permanent display in community spaces or businesses, or returned to the artists.

A free opening reception for the Breastfeeding Art Expo takes place Thursday at the Vernon Public Art Gallery from 6 to 8 p.m. and at Gallery Vertigo from 7 to 9 p.m. Times are staggered for those who wish to visit both galleries, and snacks and beverages will be available. The expo runs until Sept. 28. For more information, see

Just Posted

Vipers snap Vees’ unbeaten run at 13

Vernon hands Penticton first shutout loss of the season, 4-0 at home Saturday

Holiday bears off to new homes

Annual Morning Star December giveaway draws crowd on cold Saturday morning

Legion bell prank hits sour note

Anger erupts after Summerland Legion member removes bell from Peachland Legion

T-Birds high on Hansma

Armstrong high jump star commits to UBC Thunderbirds track team

Vipers down Silverbacks

Vernon goes into Salmon Arm and wins 3-1 in B.C. Hockey League action Friday

VIDEO: B.C. women’s curling teams converge on Hope club

Weekend-long tournament hosts groups from around the province

Vehicle with dog inside stolen from Oliver gas station

A black Honda CRV was stolen from the Oliver Chevron early Sunday morning

Team Canada loses 5-2 over the Czech Republic at World Junior A Challenge

Vees’ Tychonick drops in one of Team Canada West’s pair of goals

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

California couple name daughter after Revelstoke

Revy Elle Atashroo was born on Nov. 27. Her name honours the town her parents loved exploring.

VIDEO: Vancouver Whitecaps acquire star striker Kei Kamara

Kamara has 103 goals and 39 assists in 298 appearances over 11 Major League Soccer seasons

Smartphone pedometers underestimate steps, but valuable health tool: study

UBC researchers found the iPhone underestimated steps by 21.5 per cent

VIDEO: ‘Last Jedi’ premiere kicks off with droids, Daisy Ridley

Latests Star Wars film premiered in style ahead of Dec. 15 theatre debut

Most Read