photo by Jaylan Rhea 
photo by Jaylan Rhea

Abigail McAlister (b. 1997) is a self-taught artist born and raised in Durham, NC. She was transformed by her experiences as a birthing person and caregiver, which motivated the genesis of her art practice. Through deconstructing and reimagining ephemera, textiles, found objects, and combining them with fly-posting tools, such as wheatpaste, nails, and staples, she investigates her birthing and caregiving memories in order to establish new narratives and associations for mother identity, the need for responsibility, and the desire for rebellion. Her works serve as externalizations of the internal processes that are integral in generating new representational space and modes of understanding.

Abigail also works as a community organizer, fostering space for mothers to share their diverse, yet universal experiences with caregiving.

Essential to understanding the psychology of maternity are the concepts of totality and dedication. My work, inspired by my growing understanding of self before, during and after maternal transformation, navigates through the contrasting beauty and pain found in the cycle of romance, conception, pregnancy, birth, postpartum and heartbreak resulting in visceral work that explores the dichotomy of motherhood and individuality. In working with ephemera, found textiles and objects, I connect wasteful consumer culture with caretaking as a stride toward more internal awareness of impermanence and the obligatory cycle of sacrifice to coming generations from past and present ones.

Instagram: @abeemca