All is Joy Studios
Tuesday, March 5, 2024
Wednesday, March 6, 2024
Projection Room, All is Joy Studios, 75 Dean St, London W1D 3PU
Ellie Shipman

A solo show by Ellie Shipman

5 – 6th March, 2024

Exhibition open: Tues 5th and Weds 6th March, 10am – 6pm
Late opening: Tues 5th March, 6 – 9pm

Free tickets via: Eventbrite

HAPPY BIRTH DAYS is a solo show by Ellie Shipman in the form of a birth-themed birthday party acknowledging trauma, grief, joy, hope, and incredible change. A group of m/others will attend the birthday party, write a birth-day card of support to their birthing selves, enjoy cake and birthday snacks and take part in supportive discussion of birth in all its traumas and triumphs. The remnants of the party will be left on display, inviting the public to add their own birth-day cards to the growing installation, revealing our own internal dialogue and reflections on the complexity of the birth experience.

HAPPY BIRTH DAYS was conceived as an artwork by artist Ellie Shipman during a year of developing new work exploring birth and new motherhood supported with Developing Your Creative Practice funding from Arts Council England.

Ellie was struck by a grief-like feeling on the first birthday of her son alongside the joy and celebration of her child, and found there was little to no space for reflection on the birth itself on the anniversary for the m/other or parent. HAPPY BIRTH DAYS aims to widen this conversation, visualising this juxtaposition through a birth-themed birthday party for fellow m/others, with the aim to shed light on the diversity of the traumas and triumphs of birth through inviting attendees to write their own birth day cards of support to their birthing self – a copy to take home, and a copy to leave anonymously for others to experience. The remnants of food from the event will be left on the table throughout the remainder of the exhibition – because no Mum is going to come and tidy up!

The installation will be on display over two days where members of the public will be invited to add their own cards of support to the exhibition – either as birthing people or as support to the person who gave birth to them! The cards will form a growing installation and celebration of shared experiences around the remnants of the birth-day party.

“HAPPY BIRTH DAYS is a participatory artwork which attempts to playfully visualise conversations around birth experiences and highlight the commonality, nuances and complexities birthing people have gone through. In inviting a group of 10 birthing people to write cards of support to their birthing selves, the artwork attempts to shed light on a powerful internal dialogue around birth and bring hidden reflections to the surface.”  Ellie Shipman

Find out more:
If you would like to take part as a m/other at the party itself on 4th March, 6 – 7:30pm, please RSVP [email protected]