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Tuesday 26 March 2019

Elephant Collective focuses on maternal death in new exhibition

The exhibition commemorates the lives of eight women who died
The exhibition commemorates the lives of eight women who died

Anna Hayes

An exhibition which opens this Friday and runs for three days next week at Wexford Arts Centre drew inspiration from a local lobbying group who have called for mandatory inquests in all cases of maternal deaths.

The Elephant Collective is made up of individuals and groups who have been affected by or have concerns over maternal deaths in Ireland. The group has been actively seeking mandatory inquests for all maternal deaths since 2014 and has been working with TD Clare Daly to bring the debate to the Dáil.

The exhibition, 'Picking up the Threads: Remaking the Fabric of Care', grew from the groups experiences on their campaign. Between 2008 and 2014, inquests for eight women who died in maternity services ended in verdicts of death by medical misadventure.

The exhibition commemorates the lives of the eight women through a number of different exhibits.

Among the pieces on display are a specially designed quilt, made by over 150 collaborators; artist Martin Hynan's painted portraits of each woman; film maker Anne Marie Greene's 'Picking up the Threads' which documents the stories of the women's families and initiation of the campaign; and artist Laura Fitzpatrick's art book and film 'A Silent Killer' which depicts Savita Halappanavar's timeline in hospital.

In 2017, the Access 2000 Community group joined the campaign by gathering over 500 postcards to send to the Minister for justice, a presentation to the Elephant Collective of their ceramic work will be on display in the Arts Centre, while a collage of work made by kids who attended a 2016 workshop with artist Mary Wallace, will also be in situ.

The exhibition also honours women who died and whose names are recorded only as statistics in annual clinical reports from maternity units and hospitals.

The official opening takes place this Friday evening at 6 p.m. and the exhibition will be launched by guest speaker Margaret Cullen from Access 2000. The documentary 'Picking up the Threads' will be screened at 6.30 p.m. and there will be a panel discussion, with Dr Jo Murphy Lawless, Patricia Hughes, and Derek and Mignon Underwood at 7 p.m.

The exhibition runs in the upstairs gallery of Wexford Arts Centre from January 14 to 16.

Wexford People

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