Birthing Tray - Wine

Based on a print illustrating the birth of Julius Caesar included in an early modern manuscript of Roman history, Les Faits des Romains.

This move to marginalise midwives is made evident in Dixie’s prints. Birthing Tray – Wine based on a fourteenth-century print, shows a midwife (indicated by her distinctive headdress) removing a child from the belly of the mother while a female attendant, at the foot of the bed, prepares a bath for the infant.

‘ In Birthing Tray – Wine, the drink – photographed from above so that it constitutes a shape that is at once sun-like and ova-like – is also suggestive of blood, and thus perhaps indicates how a celebration of the birth of the (male) child was in fact contingent on the sacrifice of his mother. Although the midwife and her female assistant manage the caesarean birth, this work – like the other two – includes allusions to the enterprises of men. The iguana that Dixie has introduced into the scene is suggestive of male journeys to foreign and exotic lands. Liminal in the sense that it can move through land and water, it alludes simultaneously to the traveller on the threshold of unknown geographies and the male surgeon who, with a subsequent loss of agency by the midwives who are represented here, could embark on a parallel journey of discovery – a scientific exploration of the dark recesses of female reproductive organs. ‘   (Extract from Figuring Maternity: Christine Dixie’s Parturient Prospects by Prof. Brenda Schmahmann, Dearte n75_a4)

  • Birthing Tray - Wine
  • Christine Dixie
  • 2006
  • Digital print of scanned woodcut and photograph
  • 20
  • Sheet Size: 56 x 85 cm
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