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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Rich talent helping breast is best cause

A CARLISLE artist has drawn on his own experiences to create an artistic exhibition promoting breastfeeding to new mums.

When Rich Webster’s wife gave birth to their baby daughter Georgia, now eight months old, she received plenty of support from the midwives at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.

So, when the midwives and infant feeding co-ordinators from the North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust announced they had produced a directory of breastfeeding-friendly cafes, bars and restaurants in Carlisle, Rich decided to use his talents to help.

As a result, the ‘Five Little Fingers’ exhibition at Foxes cafe on Abbey Street was born.

“The support groups didn’t seem very well advertised so when Helen Ferris, who runs the midwives group, said they were launching this directory I said maybe we could so something,” explained Rich.

“Foxes were way ahead of the game. They had a poster on the wall already to say they were breastfeeding-friendly and by coincidence I had been working on traditional Madonna and child paintings. I tweaked them a bit to take them away from the religious imagery.”

The exhibition consists of five paintings, each specially designed to fit into Foxes’ gallery space. The paintings are “transcriptions” of existing works – including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Nicolas Poussin’s Moses in the Bulrushes – that Rich has put his own stamp on.

And to help promote the directory, dozens of new mums brought their babies along to a special launch night to view the work.

“There were about 80 people there and quite a lot of mums brought their babies, which was great,” Rich said.

“Helen Ferris gave a speech and it was great to have a chat with people and look at the paintings, as some had never been to a show before. I’ve had quite a lot of success putting paintings in cafes and bars, which again fits with this directory.”

The exhibition is running at Foxes until November 4.

All of the paintings are for sale, with 20 per cent of the price going to the Infant and New Mother clubs and clinics in north Cumbria.

To get a copy of the directory or add your venue, contact Helen Ferris on 01228 814269 or email helen.ferris@ncuh.nhs.uk.

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