“Jacob’s Baby is based on a diagram by 16th century Swiss physician Jacob Rueff. He was an overseer of midwives and drew some lovely though inaccurate illustrations. This is the largest piece in the series of textile-based sculptures based on historic anatomical diagrams of female reproductive anatomy. So many of the diagrams are very inaccurate, either comically or in a flowery way, as Rueff’s are. There has been, and continues to be, a lack of understanding of the female body, its sexuality and reproduction because of the patriarchal and misogynist attitude in the sciences. My work aims to shed light on the history of not adequately studying the female body because this deficiency continues to affect female healthcare today.”
“Lying In is an installation of three ‘quilts’ made of paper hospital bedsheets. On one side of each is a drawing of an early design of forceps and a basiotribe (a device for extracting a dead fetus) while on the other side is a more comforting quilt-like design based on lace or crochet. The development of these tools, while helpful, were developed as labour became a profitable business in the hands of men, not a natural process overseen by experienced women.”
“The earthy red sides of each quilt give back the comfort to women while also acknowledging the different types of women’s labour (childbirth and needlework).”
Helena Wadsley (she/her) is a Vancouver-based artist whose current practice involves textiles, drawing, painting, performance, and video. She has participated in residencies Morocco, Portugal, Italy, Iceland, Germany, Norway, Spain, and the UK, with an upcoming residency in the Yukon, Canada. Her work has been exhibited in five continents. Recent places where the public was be able to visit her work include New York; Chicago; Sheffield, UK; London, UK; Gimpo, Korea; Burnaby, BC; Duncan, BC; and on Artsy. In 2022, her work has shown in Orlando, FL, the United Kingdom, and Greece. She has been the recipient of Canada Council and BC Arts Council grants.