Exhibition celebrating motherhood opens in Southmead Hospital’s Brunel building

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

An exhibition celebrating motherhood has opened in the Brunel building at Southmead Hospital Bristol.

Mother in the Mother features photographs, sculptures, paper dolls and casts of pregnancy bumps created during a project that responded to the stories of 200 local mums.

The project explores maternal lineage and features photographs of families where there are four or more generations of women. The youngest person featured in the exhibition is three months and the eldest is 88.

The idea for the project came to Arts Practitioner Pippa Robinson after she gave birth to her first daughter at Southmead Hospital and now the subsequent exhibition is on display a short walk away from the maternity unit. Prior to coming to Southmead Hospital the exhibition was on display at Knowle West Media Centre.

Mother in the Mother - an exhibition celebrating motherhood has opened in the Brunel building at Southmead Hospital Bristol.

More than 6,000 babies are born with North Bristol NHS Trust every year at Southmead Hospital’s Central Delivery Suite and Mendip Birth Centre, Cossham Birth Centre and in the community.

Mother in the Mother is the latest exhibition to go on display in the atrium space opposite the Sanctuary.

The North Bristol NHS Trust arts programme, Fresh Arts, has four galleries in the Brunel building including spaces for schools and community exhibitions as well as those by local artists.  

One of the mothers who was involved in the project is Misty Tunks, of Easton, who had experience of both Cossham and Southmead Hospitals when she gave birth to her daughter.

Casts made of her changing body throughout the pregnancy feature in the exhibition.

“I kept a bit of a diary to record how I was feeling at the time when Pippa cast the bumps and the little notes are now hanging with them,” she said.

“This is a really great space for the exhibition as it is really light and really bright and great to have so many people passing by to look at it.

“Motherhood is something that everyone can connect with.”

Mother in the Mother - an exhibition celebrating motherhood has opened in the Brunel building at Southmead Hospital Bristol.

North Bristol NHS Trust Birth Centre Matron, Gina Augarde, said: “I think it is wonderful that this exhibition is in this forum where members of the public can see it, it is really nice to be over here.

“I will be encouraging some of the other midwives to come and have a look because it is quite thought-provoking.”

Pippa Robinson said: “When I had my first daughter I was immediately struck by the idea of her giving birth one day; when I later found out that our female children already carry the eggs that will become the next generation this made sense.

“It has been wonderful to work with so many amazing women over the course of this project and to hear stories about the reality, rather than the ideal, of motherhood. When we first opened our exhibition in Knowle on Mother’s Day 2015 it was brilliantly received with a lot of women and families coming to the opening event and engaging with the work.”

Arts Programme Manager, Ruth Sidgwick, said that Southmead Hospital was a fitting place for the exhibition due to the connection with women giving birth.

“I think it is nice to do something about people’s experience of hospital and giving birth is a very positive experience,” she said.

“Becoming a mother gives women an opportunity to focus on the relationship with their own mothers and I think it is fantastic for the hospital that Pippa has taken a magnifying glass to that for this exhibition.”

Mother in the Mother will be on display in the Sanctuary Gallery inside the Brunel building, Southmead Hospital until August.