The Art Gallery of Hamilton and McMaster University have created a unique and exciting partnership with the Art of Creation Project. Arts-based focus groups use art as a tool to discuss the importance of pregnancy health through creation, discussion, and developing community.
The Art of Creation (AoC) is an arts-based science translation program and public exhibition project that uses art to explain the importance of being healthy before and during pregnancy, and the effects of health and disease on future generations – also known as the Early Origins approach to understanding health and disease risk. The science behind the Early Origins approach places importance on a “healthy start to life” as a fundamental way to improve health in our communities. This study is led by McMaster University’s Dr. Deborah Sloboda, in collaboration with the AGH and Scientists and Health Care professionals from around the world.
The Main Objectives of the AoC Project are:
- To raise awareness of the Early Origins of health and disease risk;
- To motivate and empower women and people, their partners and supports, to improve health behaviours before and during pregnancy;
- To establish a role for cultural institutions in science, health education and policy, and research.
Pregnant individuals, and those who want to become parents, participate in art activities and discussions about the importance and intricacies of health before and during pregnancy, with the goal of building a support system amongst each other. Arts-based focus groups hosted by the AGH are led by the AoC Science team and local artist Cornelia Peckart with the goal of using art as a tool to discuss the importance of health through creating, conversation, and sharing of resources.
Seven Hamilton Artists were invited to engage in a process of learning about Early Origins science in the Sloboda Laboratory at McMaster University as part of the Art of Creation Artist Residency. These artists are now in the process of creating interpretive art pieces in response to their lab experiences, which will stimulate reflection and evoke thoughts about the importance of the Early life environment. Hear from some of the artists below, or meet them all here!
“I was drawn to this project because I focus on the mind/body connection in my own art practice and this felt like an extension of themes I was already exploring in my work. Long term effects of trauma, stress, depression and PTSD are known to change our cellular structures, causing a chain reaction of sorts throughout the body. Our gene expression is altered and can ultimately be passed along from one generation to another…”– Ravinder Ruprai, AoC Artist in Residence
As part of this project, the AGH will be hosting the Art of Creation Exhibition in fall 2023. This exhibition will showcase artwork created by pregnant individuals, men, and partners from the AoC arts-based workshops, as well as the works by the artists in residence with the project. By teaching early origins science through art, the Art of Creation project and this upcoming exhibition aim to teach the public, policymakers, and social and healthcare providers about the importance of investing in the health of our communities and supporting parents before and during pregnancy.
“The Art of Creation project has been a truly unique opportunity to immerse myself in a socially significant research environment. Spectating and directly conversing with the scientists about the early origins of health has fostered a deep space for reflection, learning, and creative stimulation.”– Jill Letten, AoC Artist in Residence
Header Image: Courtesy of the Art of Creation team.