When they put their hands out like scales

Emma Campbell (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


This show was extended to April 5th 2013 and is available for viewing as a portfolio of prints in the upstairs Archive gallery.

Power, exercised as control, has blighted the reproductive rights of humans worldwide for centuries.

National ideals of motherhood and acceptable female behaviour are threaded through anti-choice arguments. To represent the ‘abortion journey’ experience, in effect it becomes the “fulcrum of a much broader ideological struggle in which the very meanings of family, the state, motherhood, and …women’s sexuality are contested”.[1]

The polemic surrounding abortion is bewildering. Ambiguity and conflict are played out in the passing landscapes and impersonal details of the journey to the clinic overseas, echoed by the political bluster and suffocating reality of the legal constrictions. Layers of glass and reflection acknowledge the obfuscatory and morally indignant language used by politicians and anti-choice campaigners.

The enforced exile across the sea to the former colonial bosom, shrouded in secrecy and shame, is still one of the few options for women in the island of Ireland.

All of these photographs were made sitting by windows during journeys to abortion clinics in Liverpool and London.

[1] Petchesky, Rosalind. Abortion and Women’s Choice: The State, Sexuality and Reproductive Freedom London: Verso1986 pp. 69
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Feb 2013


  • Contemporary Art
  • Photography
  • Abortion
  • ireland
  • travel


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