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This project was successfully funded on August 31, 2013

Baby Pictures and the People's Lullaby Collective

by Michael Namkung


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I want to mount an art exhibition about babyhood and parenting that transforms a museum gallery into a social space designed for babies and their caregivers. Art museums are places we go to appreciate creative production, and I intend to highlight the work done in the care of children as a highly creative and culturally productive act. The exhibition incorporates several related parts, and I need your support to bring them all to fruition this fall in a special collaboration with the Frost Art Museum at Florida International University.

Baby Pictures

This project began last year when my son Clyde was eleven weeks old. I wanted to record Clyde’s physical movement and exertion in the form of a drawing. It is important for babies to spend time in the prone position (“tummy time”) in order to develop the balance, coordination, and musculature needed to lift the head, to roll over, to sit up, and eventually to crawl. I designed a monotype printmaking system that allows Clyde to make floor drawings using the pressure of his body that register his movement relative to the ground. We’ve carried on this collaboration for the past nine months, resulting in over 70 drawings so far. This September and October, approximately thirty of these baby pictures will be on display at the Frost Art Museum, and printed in a mini-exhibition catalogue.

Being a baby means being down on the ground or floor. This is where babies explore, play, and orient their bodies to the physical world. They do groundbreaking work here. I will install a 900-square-foot interlocking foam alphabet tile mat that will cover the gallery floor wall-to-wall. This will activate the ground plane and allow parents to easily put their children down to play on and with the floor. The tiles are designed for easy removal, and babies will literally break ground as they pull them up. The floor will transform the gallery into an engaging social space for caregivers to bring their children for baby and toddler-centered activities, and to meet other parents. I am excited to be organizing and facilitating a weekly program of Drawing Gym activities for toddlers, and a baby picture making activity for pre-crawlers during the run of the exhibition.

The People’s Lullaby Collective

Lullabies are vessels of strong emotion—they express our love, but also our concern that our children feel safe and secure in the approaching darkness. The People’s Lullaby Collective is a community of everyday parents and caregivers who are making audio recordings while singing (or trying to sing) their children to sleep. I am asking others to share this personal and intimate ritual as a way to give voice to the complex emotions that come with the job of raising children, and to honor the work that caregivers do. These recordings will be made into an audio CD, and will play continuously in the gallery space during the exhibition.

This project requires the participation of many dozens of parents and caregivers. If you are a lullaby-singer, we want your voice! (To contribute your lullaby, please see link below.) I am thrilled to have the creative collaboration of an incredible artist, Imin Yeh. She is designing an edition of 100 screen-printed “THANK YOU FOR CHANGING ME” cotton diapers, which will be displayed in the gallery, and given to lullaby participants as a gesture of appreciation at the close of the exhibition.

In order to bring all of this together, I need your help in raising $5,000. These funds will be used for material costs (including the floor tiles, diapers, mini-catalogue and CD production, and shipping costs) plus a small honorarium for Imin’s work. In the event the project exceeds its minimum goal, I will apply the funds towards professional design fees and more extensive documentation for the catalogue, and a larger print run.

Please consider donating to this project to help create this baby and parent-centered social art space. Your tax-deductible contribution will help to generate an important discussion on the art of parenting, the potential of museums, and the blurring of the line between art and life. Please join me in helping to bring this project to fruition.

I am grateful for the support of the Tanne Foundation, which provided critical assistance in the early stages of this work, and for the collaborative energy of the Frost Art Museum in helping to realize this project.

Thank you for your support. You can also show support by sharing this project with others.

I look forward to hearing from you and to sharing this work with you.


Match Funds are not currently available.

Previous donations matched by:

    • August 17, 2013 Terry a O'Neal Artist

      Too cute, Michael. I love it! Good luck. Best, Terry

      • August 22, 2013 Michael Namkung Artist

        Thank you for your support, Terry!