Connecting Hearts: Launch of immersive art exhibition

Swansea University is to collaborate with the Human Milk Foundation (IMF) and portrait artist Leanne Pearce with the launch of the Connecting Hearts immersive art exhibition which, through beautiful paintings and audio, tells the incredible stories of the people that have received donor milk for their baby, donate milk or support the work of milk banks.

The exhibition brings to life the profound impact that milk donation can have for families and how it can act as a beacon of hope for those affected by infant prematurity, baby loss, maternal cancer and more.

Artist Leanne Pearce said: “We wanted to tell the stories of all those people who are involved in the process of supporting milk banking. So, each painting, which has a recorded story with it, tells of the experiences of not only of parents with babies in neonatal care, but of women who have received milk when they weren’t able to breastfeed due to cancer or were struggling to make enough milk and their older baby was unwell.

“My paintings also depict women who have donated in stressful circumstances, including women who have donated after baby loss. I also painted the people who support the service, like the blood bikers who help transport the milk and the lactation consultant at HMF.”

 Professor Amy Brown of the University’s Centre for Lactation, Infant Feeding and Translational Research (LIFT) said: “When babies cannot receive their own mother’s milk, donor human milk can be life saving for sick and premature babies but it can also change the lives of families, donors, and communities. We are delighted to be able to showcase these stories in such a beautiful and engaging way and are very grateful to our funders, HEFCW Research Wales Innovation Funding and UKRI which enabled this.”

The Human Milk Foundation said: “”We are delighted that though this exhibition, the incredible stories behind human milk banking and the work of the Human Milk Foundation will be told, raising awareness of the life-changing impact that donating and receiving human milk can have for families. Our huge thanks go to our funders at HEFCW & UKRI, Professor Amy Brown, Swansea University and the very talented artist Leanne Pearce for making this project possible, it has been wonderful to collaborate together. We can’t wait for Connecting Hearts to capture people’s hearts across the country!”

The exhibition will be launched on Monday 20th May from 6:30pm at the Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University Singleton Campus with an opportunity to view the paintings followed by the main event in the auditorium from 7.30pm – 9pm.

Information and tickets (which are free) can be found here.

Following the launch, the exhibition will move to Swansea University’s Oriel Science in the city centre followed by Hearts Milk Bank.

The event and painting series is supported by HEFCW Research Wales Innovation Funding and UKRI. Please note that the event will contain images and discussion of topics such as infant prematurity, baby loss and cancer.