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”Art After Baby’ Project is Using Art to Support Women who have Experienced Infant Loss

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”Art After Baby’ Project is Using Art to Support Women who have Experienced Infant Loss

Although motherhood is not a form of art, it is certainly a form of creation and expression of humankind. As beautiful as motherhood can be, many women may unfortunately experience an infant loss. Infant mortality is a subject that is rarely discussed in society, whether directly or indirectly affected by it. However, it is a subject that affects the livelihood of many women in South Africa.

‘Art after Baby’ is a project created and implemented by the Independent Network for Contemporary Culture & Art in Johannesburg, Gauteng. The project aims to support young women who have experienced infant loss and are zero-hour or freelance artists in the visual arts sector of South Africa. The project also aims to create mentorship, new opportunities for economic empowerment, and skills development by providing a platform for exhibitions and visual art projects.

‘Art after Baby’ uplifts young, or previously disadvantaged creatives, specifically women working independently, by offering a platform for participation opportunities, artist’s fees in exhibitions and projects, and the sustainability of a profitable career by earning money through the sale of their artwork.

An open call for a visual art exhibition was released by the INCCA and received a total of 20 portfolio submissions, to which three artists were selected as finalists (Naledi Chai, Ditiro Mashigo, and Dee Marco). The organisation then arranged two workshops that were hosted by art industry professionals to assist the finalists in developing their professionalism and craft as visual art exhibitionists.

One of the artists, Dee Marco, describes their artwork in writing, “The House of Complaints is a home for mothering complaints – stories often lost or forgotten in a caregiver’s mind or the short years but long days that constitute the framework for care work for children”.

The project generated a total of 17 jobs, mostly consisting of youth and women. In addition to the three finalists being selected, a group of writers was employed by the INCCA to compile an editorial on the three artists, which was published on the organisation’s website.

The ‘Art after Baby’ project exhibition was held in November at the Keyes Art Mile gallery, with over 300 art lovers in attendance. The Independent Network for Contemporary Culture & Art organisation writes, “The exhibitions came together very beautifully and the opening was very well attended.

Despite the exhibition being held over one day, the organisation’s support and impact on young, female visual artists continues to this day. The INCCA reported that “Based on feedback from the workshop and exhibition, INCCA will establish and publish a South African toolkit on motherhood, loss, and zero-hour artwork. This will include a set of guidelines of how women and parents in the industry should be treated as well as a series of resources that we have discovered through the process of researching this topic. All of these elements will be published on our INCCA website.”

To learn more about the Independent Network for Contemporary Culture & Art, visit or follow them on social media @incca_arts.


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