It’s time to have a loud conversation about Black women’s health.

From a Black Womb: Intimate Portraits of Survival and Health Equity through Kinesthetic Empathy

Northwestern’s Feminist-in-Residence, Kyrin Hobson, has spent the academic year working on a unique art project focused on Black maternal health and health equity. The project, titled “From a Black Womb,” builds upon her previous research in Louisiana, where she interviewed family members about midwifery and herbalism.

In her Northwestern project, Hobson interviewed students, faculty, and staff to create visual representations of their experiences with childbirth, gynecological health, and decisions about having children. She used kinesthetic empathy to mirror and mark-make on paper based on the gestures of the interviewees. The resulting paintings are described as intimate interior landscapes that reflect how individuals perceive their bodies and their experiences.

Each painting tells a survival story that provides a deeply human perspective beyond statistical data. By sharing stories of Black individuals surviving health challenges like preeclampsia, preterm labor, and uterine disorders, Hobson aims to raise awareness and potentially influence policy change on health inequities.

Hobson will preview the project at the Women’s Center Garden Party on May 30 and host a final project presentation and reception on June 4. The project features 12 paintings crafted from interview transcripts along with textual collages. Moving image artist Ireashia Bennett is also set to collaborate with Hobson on an immersive interactive digital platform for the project.

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