When period blood turns into art: A photo gallery

It has always been about hiding and masking menstruation. This is exactly why art with mesntrual blood hits the nerve of the time: making the invisible visible. To finally solve the bloody mystery of countless menstruating people all over the world. Because one thing is certain: blood will always keep flowing. And breaking a taboo artistically has traditionally been a good idea. Why? When period blood turns into art, people consciously engage with their own menstruation.

How are we thinking about our own menstruation?

Whether it be in a sanitized white bathroom or with period art: how we think about our own menstruation has a direct influence on how we feel when we see a picture of it. Ultimately, menstruation is the most normal thing in the world. Through period art, the everyday reality of many people is made visible – whether in abstract forms or through real images. Often the menstrual blood itself is used as the colour for the pictures. Painting with menstrual blood, the most natural colour on earth. Why spend money on materials when your body gives you free paint every month? It is being attempted to create something beautiful and special out of something painful or gross. To change the perspective of menstruation and thus rewrite – improve the meaning of menstruation. To accept the body more and to live in harmony with menstruation – because it is a gift. A gift to all of us, to humanity.

How did the idea for ‘When period blood turns into art’ arise?

Since I have been free bleeding, I have been engaging with my own period much more intensively. I consciously perceive my menstrual blood. The drained blood, including small clots, often draws beautiful and moving shapes in the water of the toilet bowl. Even when the menstrual cup is emptied, the transparent water changes its colour into many different shades of red and draws circles. Especially when flushing, the red coloured water swirls and creates beautiful whirls. Since I have started seeing and perceiving my menstrual blood this way, I have developed a completely new appreciation for my own period. Have you ever really looked at your menstrual blood? A quick tip: Next time you have your period, take a close look before and while flushing. You will be surprised by how beautiful your menstrual blood can be!

The artistic aspiration for art from menstrual blood

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder – a statement or at least a feeling as old as art itself. To create high-quality and sophisticated aesthetic art lies in the power of every human being. It takes practice and a feeling for art which is developed over time. The material is of secondary importance. Menstrual blood is as suitable for creating as acrylic paint or other typical colours. The results can undoubtedly be regarded as art. The imagination of the viewer is stimulated. Complex forms and colours are created, in which the human eye and the phantasy of each individual can see the most incredible things. Faces, animals, landscapes, underwater worlds, people – all of this can be revealed in a picture created by menstrual blood.

Why am I creating art with menstrual blood?

I want to show the world that menstrual blood is not disgusting. It’s nothing to hide or be ashamed of. There are other ways as well. And I want to show people that my menstruation is a natural part of me and my cycle. As long as menstruation is still a taboo, I will remain creative. And I am happy to take on the role of a ‘provocative’ menstrual artist who publishes pictures and artwork of menstrual blood and makes people wonder at the sight of it: This is not really real menstrual blood, is it? But it is.

And how is the menstrual blood collected?

I personally collect the menstrual blood for example with a menstrual cup directly inside my body. But I prefer to free bleed, where I take a small cup with me to the toilet and collect the rejected blood in it. Of course, this also means that sometimes the blood slips faster than I can reach for the cup and it ends up directly in the toilet. But that is ok.

What usually happens with menstrual blood?

Most people prefer not to really deal with their own menstrual blood at all. We are taught that it is something disgusting that we should definitely hide. Often the menstrual blood is collected directly inside the body, with a tampon and thrown away shortly after. Pads also end up in the trash after only a few hours. Preferably all of this takes place behind closed doors. And every possible effort is made to hide menstruation. As if it didn’t even exist. And if something does go wrong and small red spots have gotten on the bed linen or underwear, it is hidden with shame.

Does the menstrual blood not smell?

What surprised me (and Jamin, my faithful photographer) most of all was that the menstrual blood – contrary to the common belief – does not smell at all. Not even after a few days! However, it is interesting to mention that the fresh menstrual blood has different shades of red depending on the day of the cycle. Sometimes, especially at the beginning and at the end of the period, it tends towards brown tones. Once the menstrual blood has been painted with and is drying on the paper with the air, over time even the strongest color of red changes to brown. Gradually the colors become a little paler. It is super interesting to be able to see the changes in this way.

The look into your cycle

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April 6, 2020
Britta Wiebe ist die Co-Gründerin von Vulvani. Am liebsten recherchiert, schreibt und konzipiert sie den ganzen Tag neue Artikel oder innovative Bildungsformate rund um Menstruation. Wenn sie nicht in der weiten Welt unterwegs ist, genießt sie ihre Zeit mit lieben Menschen im schönen Hamburg. | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter

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