Period art show aims to shock, open up dialogue about menstruation

HALIFAX – The curator of an art show that spotlights menstruation said the art pieces may make some people uncomfortable, but she hopes that gets people talking.

Alanah Correia is the organizer behind Our Bodies, Our Blood. The project, showcased at Plan B on Gottingen Street, includes submissions from more than 40 artists from around Canada, the United States and even as far away as Australia.

Correia said she got the idea for the menstruation art show after attending a fertility awareness workshop with a friend.

“I realized there’s so little I knew about my body in terms of menstrual health. I started talking to a lot of people and started doing a lot of my own research about how menstruation is portrayed in media and even historically speaking, how menstruation has been stigmatized and has been a taboo,” she said.

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Correia said she thinks the stigma around menstruation has roots in different cultures and religions.

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“There’s misconceptions it’s dirty, that it should never be talked about and if you’re on your period, you should never let people know,” she said.

She said she wants to break down the walls around the topic and create a dialogue around menstruation.

“There’s people who can’t access menstrual products and can’t even ask for it because they have body shame that’s been hammered into them since they were a kid. There are people menstruating right now who don’t have menstrual products,” she said.

“That’s an issue. It’s a hygienic issue. It’s a sanitary issue. For people who can’t afford that, it causes a lot of health concerns.”

Correia said the show is open to all ages, though she advises there is nudity in some art pieces.

Though she said some people may be shocked or unnerved by some of the displays, she is hopeful it will encourage positive conversation about menstruation.

“Some people aren’t ready to talk about menstruation and that’s ok. But for people who are ready, we presented this opportunity,” she said.

The exhibit runs until the end of September and includes talks from artists as well as workshops.

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“It’s really important we keep in mind it’s a necessity, not a luxury item,” she said.

The federal government removed the GST off feminine hygiene products on July 1.

The art show is also a fundraiser for menstrual products for Adsum House and Barry House. Financial and menstrual product donations are being accepted at Plan B, and raffle tickets for prizes can be purchased at Plan B, Venus Envy or the Just Us Cafe in Dartmouth.

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