Michelle Hartney Launches MAKE AMERICA LOVE AGAIN

Michelle Hartney Launches MAKE AMERICA LOVE AGAIN

After the recent Presidential election results, Chicago-based artist and activist Michelle Hartney has temporarily shifted the focus of her work from maternal healthcare activism, to fighting for basic human rights. The goal of her current project MAKE AMERICA LOVE AGAIN, is to focus attention on compassion-and combat the hate that has been stirred up by Donald Trump's campaign, with messages of love.

Recently featured in Ms. Magazine and PREGAME Magazine, the artist's MOTHER'S RIGHTperformance + installation, Birth Words and Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey series, MOM$ and Correcting History projects, and Kimberly Said No performance, are part of Hartney's ongoing work focusing on women's health. Hartney founded the Woman's Health Collective in 2016, an organization dedicated to utilizing creative solutions to address women's health issues by linking artists, designers, writers, musicians, technologists, healthcare providers, and activists to work collaboratively on socially engaged, community based projects.

For those wanting to take part in MAKE AMERICA LOVE AGAIN and spread messages of love, compassion, and acceptance throughout our community, please fill out the form on Hartney'swebsite to receive "Make America Love Again" stickers at no cost to you. If you wish to contribute to the printing cost of the stickers, you may donate on her site as well.

Hartney was highlighted on CNN's Great Big Story, as part of their "Instigators" series. Presented in conjunction with Every Mother Counts-a non-profit dedicated to maternal health, founded by Christy Turlington Burns-the series profiles people fighting for change in women's health, spotlighting innovators in the field. Hartney, labeled a true "Instigator," is featured using her probing art to shine a light on the increasing dangers of childbirth in the United States.

MOTHER'S RIGHT-the artist's conceptual installation and performance piece-took place on Labor Day at the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago, Illinois. For the performance, Hartney sewed 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 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.

Michelle Hartney's 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. Hartney's MOTHER'S RIGHT necklaces are available through the artist's website and on the art retail site Art Markit, with limited edition tondos from MOTHER'S RIGHT also available to fund future art + culture iterations of the project in 2017.

(Photo Credit: Michelle Hartney)

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