The Artistry in Maternity

In the realm of artistic expression, the theme of maternity has stood the test of time, embodying the profound and complex journey of motherhood. A captivating exhibition at the UMD Art Gallery, featuring 'African Art from the Dr. Gilbert and Jean Jackson Collection' and 'Mother Molds' by Coralina Rodriguez Meyer, invites audiences to explore the depths and diversity of this timeless subject. Embracing both traditional and contemporary perspectives, these exhibits offer a meaningful and robust conversation about motherhood in all its facets.

The Timeless Bond: Mother-Child Motif in African Art

Explore the prevalence of the mother-child motif in African art and the profound symbolism behind this timeless bond.

Deeply ingrained in African art is the repeated portrayal of the mother-child relationship. Each work of art from tribes such as the Baule peoples of Côte d’Ivoire, the Pende and Mekoto people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Yoruba and Bangwa peoples from Nigeria and Cameroon, amplifies the universal significance of this familial bond. Examining these art pieces unveils a deeper understanding of the reverence attributed to motherhood, and how it transcends cultural boundaries.

Nurturing Tradition: The Spiritual Power and Artistic Textures

Discover the spiritual essence and diverse textures present in African art, where artists masterfully render traditional iconography while infusing their own personal style.

The beauty of African art encompasses not only its visual appeal but also the spiritual currents running beneath its surface. Through the use of various textures - from carved woods to vibrant metals and stones - artists channel the collective memory and traditions of their tribes. While remaining faithful to their rich cultural heritage, artists simultaneously bring forth textures that reflect their own unique styles, fostering a harmonious blend that captivates viewers.

Motherhood Reimagined: Unveiling Modern Perspectives

Witness an evolution of interpretations as contemporary artist Coralina Rodriguez Meyer sheds light on the interconnectedness of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.

While celebrating the art of African traditions, 'Mother Molds' by Coralina Rodriguez Meyer introduces a modern dimension to the exploration of motherhood. Through the use of pregnant body molds adorned with carefully selected elements, the artist evokes a sense of individuality and a celebration of unique journeys. Inspired by her own heritage, Rodriguez Meyer breathes life into each sculpture, sparking conversations about the diverse experiences of motherhood in our contemporary world.

Honoring Alternative Narratives: The Significance of Traditions and Rituals

Delve into the importance of honoring diverse forms of knowledge and rituals associated with pregnancy and childbirth, as highlighted in 'Mother Molds' exhibition.

Captivating visitors with striking sculptures, 'Mother Molds' prompts a dialogue about the significance of alternative narratives surrounding childbirth. Coralina Rodriguez Meyer incorporates not just physical molds but also perspectives shared by the people whom she sculpts, enabling the celebration of their unique stories. This compelling celebration of varied beliefs and traditions reminds us of the collective human experience and the depth which comes from acknowledging diverse practices.

Lifting the Veil: Unexplored Topics Surrounding Motherhood

Delve into the eye-opening conversations inspired by the intersection of motherhood and social issues such as maternal healthcare and rising child care costs.

The 'Mother Molds' exhibition invites thought-provoking discussions as it engages with contemporary issues surrounding motherhood. It serves as an opportunity to explore haunting disparities, including alarming maternal mortality rates among Black women and the immense cost burden of childcare. By drawing attention to these topics within the space of art, we take crucial steps towards addressing critical gaps in societal understanding and support for all mothers.

Evolving Narratives: The Intersection of Tradition and Modernity

Reflect on the powerful evolutions occurring within the narratives of motherhood by observing the intricate fusion of traditional African artistry and contemporary artistic expressions.

The UMD Art Gallery's diverse exhibitions cohesively weave together timeless traditions and new artistic interpretations. Allow these juxtaposed artworks in 'African Art from the Dr. Gilbert and Jean Jackson Collection' and 'Mother Molds' to inspire introspection as we witness the provocative fusion of cultural practices spanning centuries. This intersection highlights the resilience of motherhood, manifesting through vivid colors, divine textures, and storytelling prowess, laying the foundation for an enriched understanding of motherhood's multidimensional expression.


The exhibitions 'African Art from the Dr. Gilbert and Jean Jackson Collection' and 'Mother Molds' by Coralina Rodriguez Meyer provide a captivating journey through the timeless theme of maternity. Through a rich amalgamation of traditional African art and contemporary interpretations, these exhibits celebrate the interconnectedness and diversity of motherhood. Artists from different cultures and time periods come together to explore the profound bond between mother and child, while also shedding light on the evolving narrative of motherhood in our modern society.


Why is the mother-child motif prevalent in African art?

The mother-child motif holds immense cultural and symbolic importance in African art. It represents the universal essence of the mother-child bond and emphasizes the nurturing role of motherhood across different tribes and communities.

What is the significance of the 'Mother Molds' exhibition?

'Mother Molds' exhibition by Coralina Rodriguez Meyer offers a fresh perspective on motherhood by showcasing pregnant body molds representing individual journeys. It highlights alternative narratives and celebrates the beauty of diversity, allowing visitors to engage with themes of tradition, rituals, and personal stories.

Why is it important to address social issues related to motherhood?

By acknowledging and discussing social issues such as maternal healthcare and childcare costs, we can contribute to a more equitable society. These conversations help create awareness, identify gaps, and advocate for necessary changes that support all mothers.

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