Join us to discuss the future of women’s healthcare and reproductive justice in a conversation moderated by artist Maureen Connor of the Institute for Wishful Thinking, with guest speakers Nicole JeanBaptiste, founder of the Bronx-based Sésé Doula Service and Birth Justice Project Coordinator consultant with the NYC Department of Health, and Marina Ortiz, founder of East Harlem Preservation, helped lead the movement to remove the Sims monument from its Central Park location. Known by some as the “Father of Gynecology”, Sims developed his practices while operating on enslaved women without anesthesia during the 19th century.
We will discuss how the patriarchal and racist groundwork laid by Sims continues to impact women’s healthcare and provide ways to support efforts to improve reproductive justice. The discussion builds on ideas from the Speculum Project, an installation based on the history of Dr. J. Marion Sims that is part of the exhibition Race and Revolution: Reimagining Monuments, curated by Katie Fuller, at the Old Stone House.
Race and Revolution: Reimagining Monuments questions the relationship between historical memory and historical monuments and the implications of the histories that remain absent. Through drawings, quilts, interactive sculptural pieces, public art and paintings sixteen artists are concerned with creating inclusive, dimensional histories, offering insight into how collective thinking has shaped New York’s story, confronting not only what we remember and memorialize, but how.
The Institute for Wishful Thinking (IWT, 2008-ongoing) is a collective project that shifts the role of the artist from cultural critic to agent of change. Maureen Connor, one of the members of the collective, is an artist and educator based in New York whose work engages with feminism, labor and reproductive justice. Using methods of performative pedagogy to facilitate discussions that explore Sims’ history, the IWT has done ongoing work with more than a dozen communities in NYC and elsewhere since 2015.