Mother & Child

My name is Kinsey Fitzgerald. I am an artist, doula, and an educator in Urbana, Illinois. I received my BFA in Crafts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My vision for The Great ARTdoors is to create a sculpture depicting a beautiful image of a Black Mother holding her Baby. The goals of this piece are beauty, peace, and to combat the stereotype of the absent mother in the Black community, which was created as a means to control enslaved humans for the purpose of justifying the act of ripping children from their mothers and then forcing mothers to be wet nurses to the slave owner’s offspring. This took place in the US as well as in Brazil. This stereotype still exists and is dangerous. Today in the US, a Black Woman is three times more likely than a White Woman to die in Childbirth. I believe this is due to the systematic oppression of Black people in the health care system which is inaccurately justified by stereotypical archetypes such as this one. In São Paulo, they have Black imagery in many of the parks. I am especially inspired by a sculpture there called “Monumento da Mãe Preta ” translated to “The Black Mother Monument”. This spectacular sculpture honors women from their horrific history. The idea and history of the “Black Mother” is known throughout Brazil. I would like to start the same way of honoring and educating with sculptures here in Urbana, and hopefully continue this movement through the rest of the United States.

I was influenced to do a sculpture based off of the surroundings but I also think that due to today’s social climate, especially in terms of statues, this piece sparks this conversation and stands as an example of Public Art that represents the people of today and tomorrow.

I decided to keep a neutral color palette that corresponds with the surroundings of trees. I think the dichotomy of the wooden man-made structure along with the colors of the surroundings generate conversation of the topics mentioned above, and the beauty and peace that a viewer may find while looking upon the Sculpture. I used reused and repurposed wood, such as shipping pallets for the construction.

LOCATION: Chief Shemauger Park | Urbana