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The Inhabit Project; exhibition opening in Tāmaki Makaurau

Inhabit, open 10-3pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays through March 2023, at the Fale Community House, 50a Rosebank Road, Avondale. All events and workshops are free to attend. Everyone is invited to stay for kai and korero after each workshop and the space will open to the public again. Inhabit has been made possible with generous support from the Whau Local Board and Auckland City Council Creative Communities Scheme.

Press Release

“There is one thing we all have in common, we have all been born..”

Artist and birth worker Holli McEntegart, presents Inhabit – March 7th- April 1st, in Auckland Fale Community House, 50a Rosebank Road, Avondale.

Inhabit is a public arts project, a site to explore traditions of care within birthing communities in Aotearoa. Inhabit will be opening its second community postpartum care center and art space in the Whau from March 7th to April 1st, 2023.

Located in the heart of Avondale, Inhabit weaves connections between traditions of art-making and story sharing in the home, while highlighting the diverse range of postpartum experiences many folks carry with them as they journey through new parenthood and family building. Workshops, classes and community offerings will be available free of charge and are inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities. You do not need to be a mother or even a parent to attend. Inhabit is warm and nurturing, a safe, inclusive space that is accessible and welcoming to all.

“As a society we focus so much on our birth stories, our stories of becoming, but what happens afterwards?” asks Holli. “How many of us know our own postpartum stories, or those of our ancestors?”

Holli McEntegart describes herself as a social practice artist and full spectrum doula. Inhabit combines both practices providing a social space for new parents to come together to share their postpartum experiences within a context of care and social activism. Placed at the intersection of birth and reproductive justice activism, the project is considered a ‘living art work’, making visible the diverse lineage of postpartum traditions and practices, which are often concealed by the medical industrial complex. This work engages critically with how community, cultural and whanau postpartum care has been marginalised in Aotearoa and explores new models of community postpartum care, with the aim of centring intergenerational knowledge sharing, healing and community building.

Over the last decade, Holli McEntegart has lived and worked as a social practice artist and doula in New York and Los Angeles, but returned to New Zealand as the Covid epidemic arrived. She holds a Masters of Visual Arts and has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally. Her current work on motherhood is central to her art practice, which focuses on re-centering and healing through lived experience. Her art practice is underpinned by a desire to unpack the complexities of sometimes overlooked and devalued human experiences - so mothers and their larger support networks may collectively offer new visions and actions for change.

This is an aspect of human experience often invisible in the domain of art. The artwork becomes a site of human social exchange between mothers, a doula and the community, aiming to make visible community, cultural and whānau approaches to postpartum care.

Holli will be making healing soups, broths and teas throughout the duration of the exhibition, this kai will be shared with the public in the style of a public kitchen. There are a range of classes and workshops from lactation support, babywearing workshops, kangatraining, birth story processing, and new parent support groups. Our kaupapa is to center intergenerational knowledge and community building, by creating healing, warm inclusive spaces.

The space will be open on a walk-in/drop in basis, as well as offering more intimate and focused workshops that can be booked online - The programming and workshops will be facilitated by local perinatal professionals, including birth and postpartum doulas, lactation consultants, pelvic floor specialists and therapists, as well as artists and makers. Full programme will be updated here

During the project, visual echoes of intimate postpartum exchanges will be installed on the walls within the space. These texts were first gathered in Wellington and will continue to grow and create an archive of postpartum stories that weave themselves across the motu.

“One part of the Inhabit archive includes post-it notes that I’ve created for new parents' homes,” says Holli, “hidden inside bathroom vanities and bedside draws for tired eyes to find in moments of need. Post-it notes like this have been shared with me from doulas all over the world “

“It can be both shit and wonderful, there is space for all of those feelings”

Love Notes, 2022 (post-it note from participant at Wellington Inhabit pop-up space)

The post-it note wall will evolve in the space with participants and the public invited to add to the wall messages to their past or future selves, postpartum friends and whanau.

“My aspiration for the project is to create a room that is a site of exchange, reflection, witnessing and encouragement. A place for the intimate sharing of stories.”

Inhabit offers a space to come together, share and learn as a community how to better care and support people postpartum. Not just through the physical healing from birth, but through the psychological, emotional, hormonal and social transition of postpartum that every new parent and growing family experiences.

Inhabit will be open Tuesday – Saturday, March 7th – 1st April, 10am – 3pm, daily. There will be scheduled workshops most mornings at 10:30am, followed by a conversation with shared kai, tea and postpartum centric herbal infusions - that are good for everyone! Folks are encourage to follow on instagram for programing announcements

Workshops are free but will be sign up only VIA

Inhabit in the Whau is proudly supported by the Whau Local Board and Auckland City Council Creative Communities Scheme


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