Menstruating in Public

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Sarah Maple in her Studio; Photo by Andrew Hassen

Folks with an interest in feminist art will want to check out the work of Sarah Maple, a visual artist based in Sussex, England.  In a recent article in the (UK) Independent, journalist Charlotte Rachael Proudman describes the artist’s work:

In an unfailingly mischievous manner, Sarah Maple uses narrative artwork to challenge traditional notions of religion, identity and the societal role of women. Her artwork never fails to shock; her latest piece Menstruate With Pride(right) is no exception. Surrounded by a horrified and disgusted crowd, Maple stands centre stage, a proud woman menstruating in public. It’s an interesting and bold statement; clearly Maple is an incendiary feminist. But the painting also airs a deep societal secret that menstruation is – and must remain – taboo.

What better way to understand the meaning behind Maple’s artwork than to ask the artist herself? “Initially I didn’t want to make work about menstruation because I thought it was a bit of a cliché. But as I was looking more into the idea of women and shame, I felt like I couldn’t avoid it!” Maple laughs. “I think there’s a phenomenal burden of shame on women from word go. When I started my period I was absolutely horrified, I felt it was humiliating. I didn’t tell my mother for 3 years, I felt I was letting her down. I think this may have been a cultural thing,” she says.

Read the full article here.

For more about Sarah Maple’s work, see her website here.

-Bridget Crawford

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