Motherhood has become such a given that society does not stop to consider what it means. In the modern world, birth is seen as such a common happening that no attention is paid to the story behind each child and the journey of the mother and father. Blanket thought ignores the individual experience and says, “a child is born, but so are so many million others.”
Illustrator Anne Benjamin has used her latest body of work to look at the life of the new mother. Her painting ‘Protector’ shows a woman, swelled and pregnant, quiet and focused on caring for the life inside. It’s shocking in its honesty — once on the path to being a parent you are placed outside of the flow of the modern world and lifted up into the ever-present yet invisible natural world. You are now a part of the Earth-born current. Benjamin places her grounded mother figure atop a mushroom, the creatures born of the soil growing from the ground, crawling towards her and the protection she offers.
Benjamin followed ‘Protector’ with ‘Nest,’ which finds the child in the arms of her mother, a look-alike in miniature, nuzzling the full body of her mother. Benjamin’s approach to the mother to child relationship is one grounded solely in truth and in their simplest terms — a mother protects, a mother is the nest. She is home. Through the mushroom and the moss, Benjamin shows where we all come from. The rich soil and water that gives life. Once a woman becomes a mother, she in turn is the foundation the next generation shall be born from.