Kasey Jones, MFA I kaseyjonesart.com
Kasey Jones is an interdisciplinary social artist and educator. She received her BFA from Ohio University and her MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Jones creates socially driven artwork that focuses on the injustices she has faced through her experiences of being a woman and mother in contemporary society. Her work spans topics such as breastfeeding, lack of paid maternity leave, menstruation, and motherhood. Her “Working Mother Suit” series was profiled by international news outlets such as the Huffington Post and Cosmopolitan. In addition, Jones uses her passion for creating socially engaged art through her curriculum that she teaches at Columbus College of Art and Design and Hocking College. She currently lives in rural southeast Ohio with her husband and their three daughters.
I created this photographic series to bring awareness to the harsh realities of what it takes to be a working mother, especially when caring for an infant. Our system does not support new mothers or families during this transitional phase. It was my duty as a social artist to shed light on how taxing it is on our physical and mental health. When I discovered that the United States is the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave, I began to question our values as a society. How we treat mothers and women in our society reflects what we value the most and what we value the least. Women who work and who choose to become mothers have to overcome more obstacles than most.
Our system needs to sustain families through this phase so they can reenter the workforce healthy and balanced. We need to value self-care as much as we value money. Money should never supersede the importance of physical and mental health, but sadly in our society, it does. Working Mother Suit forces the viewer to confront the lack of support mothers actually receive in their place of employment.
Over the course of one year, I saved all the breast milk storage bags that I used in order to provide nourishment for my infant while I was away at work. “Working Mother Suit” is covered with approximately 152 breast milk storage bags, quantifying 556 ounces, 9 gallons of breast milk I had to pump in order to work just part-time.