Visual artist Niamh O’Connor has been awarded an Artist in the Community Scheme Research and Development Award, with Mentoring, to explore a proposed new project called Pregnancy Dreaming. Niamh will collaborate with expectant women and a midwife in Mullingar, beginning in October 2014, with Helium as a support organisation. Mentorship will be provided by Chrissie Poulter, Director and Drama Lecturer.
‘Pregnancy, as we know, is marked by dramatic change and in a sense, every woman who gives birth also gives birth to a new self. I am interested in exploring this marked period as skin is stretched beyond its elasticity, as families gather, as systems and cycles are entered, as preparations are made, as weight exerts pressure. Women remark how vivid their dreams are in pregnancy. A pregnancy nightmare that took place in a Mothercare store brings to the surface the pressures of the commercialisation of pregnancy. Whether a pregnancy is planned or not, the need to be supported is utmost, to deal with the inevitable stresses that gestational change brings about and its implications in mother-infant bonding. It is this imaginative space of dreaming (in both senses of the word) – by way of working through anxieties and as a projection into the future which I would like to explore.’ – Niamh O’Connor
The Arts Council’s Artist in the Community Scheme is managed by Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts.