I’m Manon, a student at the Art academy in London. A little while ago, I started painting with my own menstrual blood...
I am a performer, so using my body as a medium feels natural. I decided to focus on menstruation because I think it’s a fascinating phenomenon and an important subject to talk about. We live in a male dominated society, which puts down the feminine and there is no equality. We see menstruation as dirty, which makes people with vaginas ashamed of their own body. What I do with my work is the opposite, I try to normalise it and show people that it is beautiful.
At the beginning of the project I asked a group of women I know if they would be happy to collect their blood for me so I could use it to paint with. I’m working on a big scale world map where the most dangerous places for women to exist are painted with a darker, thicker blood. I hope it raises awareness about the fact that nowhere is fully safe for us, even today.
When I ask for blood donations it’s beautiful to see how everyone opens up about their cycle and their experience. It starts conversations and I think this is exactly what we need. I am also painting a series of portraits using their own blood or mine. It is important to note that not all women bleed, for various reasons like illness, age, or because they are trans. This project is for them too. It is for all women.
Creating art with my own blood has made me connect more deeply with myself. I used to think that it was a burden, but now I see it as a gift that nature gives me every month, a chance to let go and be more in tune. I would highly recommend to everyone who bleeds to buy a mooncup or a sponge, get familiar with your blood, make art, fertilise a plant or the earth. Blood is life and it is strong.
In a more spiritual context, period blood is considered one of the most powerful tools for rituals and many cultures have been using it for centuries. I have incorporated this into my most recent work, including setting an intention, blessing the blood before using it and creating symbols around the work. I am planning a performance this summer to take place in nature, a group of women will meet, bring their blood and perform a ritual together. The intention we hold is to deepen our connection with ourselves, nature and to each other. I believe in sisterhood as a way of growing in community and empowering each other. We need to stand together for women's rights, reclaim our power and sexuality in the world.
See more of Manon’s work on Instagram
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