“Body Language: Brooklyn Museum”: A Mother’s Day Performance by the True Body Project


The True Body Project. Photograph courtesy True Body Project. Copyright Esther Freeman, True Body class of 2005.

This Mother’s Day program has grown out of a yearlong collaboration between the Brooklyn Museum and the True Body Project. Originally based in Cincinnati, the organization began conducting workshops with various New York-based community organizations in 2008 including Women of Storahtelling, We Got Issues, and the Arab American Association of New York to gather stories about women’s relationships with their bodies. The organization’s goal is to utilize art and performance as a means to facilitate promoting positive body image in young girls and women. During April’s Target First Saturday, representatives from the True Body Project shared their art-making process with Museum visitors by placing journals containing workshop participants’ reflections on each chair. The visitors were encouraged to leaf through the journals and read aloud entries that they personally connected with. The audience’s response was amazing with participants ranging in age from 10 to 65 reading to the group. Innovative and inspirational, the activity created a sense of connection across age, background, and experience. The Museum is thrilled to promote art projects which have grown directly out of collective voices and community collaboration. And, in a time of limited resources, this is a wonderful model for organizing quality and meaningful public programs on a shoestring.


The True Body Project captures workshop participants’ reflections on specific prompts in these shared journals. Photograph courtesy of the True Body Project.

This Sunday, May 10, the True Body Project will premiere their site-specific performance Body Language: Brooklyn Museum throughout the galleries. The performers will be responding to different installations in the Museum – including Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, the Museum’s well-known female figurine (known by most as the ‘Bird Lady’) in the Ancient Egyptian Art Galleries, and the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion – with their own interpretive dance, new video, original song, and homemade replica sistra . Each piece combines Brooklyn women’s reflections on their bodies and lived experience with responses to the Museum’s artwork.


Take a sneak peak of the brilliant intergenerational theatrical work that will be in the Glass Pavilion. Here, the performers work out their spacing in advance of the program. Photograph by Cameron Anderson.

Many thanks to Lyndsey Beutin in Education for the following, and for her efforts to promote and co-organize the program. The True Body Project performs Body Language: Brookyn Museum throughout the Museum this Sunday, May 10th. For further details about the program please click here.