Jen Lewis, who proclaims herself to be a “conceptual artist [and] menstrual designer” happened upon her medium of choice on accident, as she creates artwork from her menstrual blood. Her intent is to take something that is perfectly natural, yet deemed disgusting and taboo, and turn it into something beautiful and worthy of hanging on anyone’s wall. With the help of her husband, Lewis has created many beautiful images using nothing but water and the blood from her period. In the process, she hopes to remove the stigma behind a woman’s period and show it in a beautiful way.
According to Metro U.K., Jen gained her initial inspiration from using a menstrual cup in place of pads or tampons. She revealed that using the cup is much more hands-on, but also much healthier for a woman.
“The cup is a much more ‘hands-on’ approach to menstruation management so my relationship with my body began changing immediately following the first use.”
Since the cup can be a bit messy, she noticed some blood on her fingers while emptying the cup, and it made her wonder why period blood was deemed to be so disgusting.
“One day, when I had some blood on my fingers after emptying my cup, I started to wonder about why society framed up menstruation as something disgusting.”
As she wondered about the stigma behind menstrual blood, she gained the idea of an art project using the blood and water. She recruited her husband to help take pictures of the blood and water intermingling, using various tools to move the water to create a different flow as the two liquids combined.
Some find Lewis’ artwork to be disgusting and vulgar, but others are excited that she is challenging the norm of society in such a beautiful way.
“I’m even getting messages from people who are really uncomfortable with the images who are thanking me for challenging them. It’s really cool.”
Lewis is not the first woman to use her menstrual blood as a means of art, Carina Ubeda used five years worth of sanitary cloths to share the designs that stained the white cloths in a massive art exhibition, according to the Huffington Post. Lewis will display her artwork within an exhibition at the Menstrual Health and Reproductive Conference that occurs in Boston in June.
What are your thoughts on her artwork?
[Photo Courtesy: Beauty in Blood/Metro U.K.]