Portraits with Purpose - breastfeed
breastfeed is a series of portraits celebrating mothers breastfeeding their young.
This work evolved from Leanne's personal experiences of breastfeeding.
"I breastfed both my daughters and although initially my path was rocky, it was also precious and fulfilling. While feeding my second daughter, Boadicea, when she looked up at me it somehow moved and inspired me to create a portrait of us both. I then began painting other mums breastfeeding their babies and children."
Breastfeeding is a hot topic in modern society. The subject matter is highly charged. Unfortunately the press are largely focusing on negative stories which tend to undermine the precious value of breastfeeding. Breasts have also become sexualised and it is almost deemed abnormal to breastfeed, especially in public in the United Kingdom.
Leanne feels this series contributes to reshaping the narrative in terms of the very natural act of feeding children with their mothers milk.
Breastfeeding mothers are strong, powerful, nurturing humans, but can also at some points be fragile. Each mother and baby partnership has their own unique story which can change and evolve quite organically or indeed be disrupted. Breastfeeding is often not plain sailing for some women and many people feel vulnerable during this time. This series attempts to capture loving, tender relationships and showcase the maternal bond in formation.
Within the breastfeed collection there are lots of mothers who proudly feed their young and ample diversity is displayed within these paintings. There are young mothers, mothers feeding older children and indeed feeding two/three children at once. The work celebrates this diversity and challenges our perceptions of the subject.
The artwork is not an instruction manual or a clinical guide. The paintings seek to reveal a true reflection of mothers experiences . This project aims to show truth and reveal real stories; the artwork is not based solely on a concept, but the visuals are a gentle pathway into conversations around the subject matter.