Alice Bliumis’ subversive botanical paintings in the series Plant Parenthood were conceived after Roe v Wade was overturned. All of the plants are abortifacients, positing will women have to revert to medieval methods when safe medical access is taken away?
Each of the flowers portrayed in the larger series is known to have been used in various folk medicines to terminate pregnancies. Asarum, for example, appears in the 12th-century medical writings of the sainted German nun Hildegard von Bingen, who herself prescribed abortions. The peacock flower was deployed as a form of anti-slavery resistance in 17th-century Suriname by enslaved women who used it to abort offspring who would otherwise be born into bondage. In 2018, an Argentinian woman died after attempting to induce a miscarriage with parsley, an emmenagogue popularized in the 19th century.
The series thus hints at long, tenuous histories of the abortion underground. The work emphasizes that the removal of legal abortion does not eliminate the means or will of women to find ways to regain control of their bodies. What is our future when women’s rights are taken away?
A portion of the proceeds from sale of this work benefits Planned Parenthood.
Presented by SITUATIONS, New York.
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