Inspired by her personal experiences as a breastfeeding mother, UK portrait artist Leanne Pearce has created a new series of paintings celebrating women breastfeeding their children. The aim of the series is to provide more positive imagery around the subject of breastfeeding, which has been and continues to be a topic of great controversy.
“Breastfeeding is a hot topic within modern society in our western culture. The subject matter is fuelled and people feel passionately about it,” Leanne explains in an artist statement. “The press is constantly focusing on negative stories which seem to forget the functional, maternal and nutritionally precious value of breastfeeding. Breasts have become sexualised and it is almost deemed abnormal to breastfeed, especially in public. I feel this series would contribute to readdressing the balance of the natural act of feeding children with their mother’s milk.”
Leanne has breastfed both of her daughters, but it was while she was feeding her younger daughter that she experienced a connection that compelled her to create a self portrait (lead image). Inspired by the beautiful bond between mother and child, Leanne then began to paint other moms breastfeeding their children. Today, there are ten completed paintings in the series, with more to come.
“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 and many people feel vulnerable during this time,” says Leanne. “The paintings seek to reveal a true reflection of mothers’ experiences and provide a gentle pathway into conversations around the subject matter.”