Michelle Hartney Brings MOTHER'S RIGHT to Richard J. Daley Center

MOTHER'S RIGHT-a conceptual installation and performance piece by artist Michelle Hartney-will take place this Labor Day, Monday, September 7, from 12 to 2pm at the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago, Illinois. The piece is part of Hartney's ongoing Obstetrics in America series-preceded by Our Past and Birth Words-which addresses the United States' high rates of maternal mortality, postpartum PTSD, and obstetric abuse. According to the World Health Organization, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. has increased 250% since 1995-and is ranked at the top of all developed countries globally.

For the performance, Hartney is sewing 1,200 hospital gowns-one for every mother who died in childbirth in America in 2013. Each gown is hand silk-screened with the artist's drawings of the plant derivatives for the drugs that have been used on laboring women for the past 150 years. During the performance, several pairs of women will stand facing one other, folding the handmade gowns into triangles-similar to the way the American flag is folded at the funeral of a solider. The traditional flag-folding ceremony includes twelve symbolic folds, and as described by The American Legion, "The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded." These custom-made hospital gowns have been cut to a length where the fabric stops on the ninth fold.

MOTHER'S RIGHT is about honoring and protecting the thousands of women who have sacrificed their lives while bringing life into this world. Reflected in the artist's choice to mirror the sacred, beautiful, and moving American military flag-folding ceremony, this project is about coming together as a country to save and protect these women, and our futures. Held in conjunction with Improving Birth's Labor Day Rally, live coverage of the performance can be followed on social media, via Michelle Hartney's Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as on AKArt's Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. To attend the live performance, RSVP to the MOTHER'S RIGHT event here. To support the project, in addition to a successful Kickstarter campaign which launched on Mother's Day, MOTHER'S RIGHT necklaces and limited edition framed, 6 x 6 inch tondos are available online and at the performance.ney is a Chicago-based artist whose work addresses a broad range of topics-from women's health issues, to the concept of heroes, love, and the cosmos. She works in a variety of materials, including fiber, wood, found objects, and most recently, performance. Her interest in using art to address social issues began during her graduate studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she was an Albert Schweitzer Fellow.

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