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Aug 11, 2022

Latched: An Art Exhibit Promoting Breastfeeding and Family

Belize continues to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, despite formal activities that culminated on August seventh. Tonight, an art exhibit is being opened at the Belisle Art Gallery inside the Bliss Center for Performing Arts. On display are a number of photos showcasing breastfeeding mothers and their families. The exhibit is the brainchild of Penny Cassasola whose lifework includes championing the benefits of breastfeeding.  The artistic expression was put together by Briheda Haylock and the Institute of Creative Arts.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

One of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival is through breastfeeding.  It is recommended that children initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their lives.  However, nearly two out of every three infants are not exclusively breastfed for that duration.  So, when Fiona Welch had her first child a few months ago, she immediately decided that her son would be nourished with her natural milk.


Fiona Welch

Fiona Welch, Breastfeeding Mother

“Throughout breastfeeding, you will see him just, his excitement for wanting the milk at the breast.  He’ll go [panting] and just be looking for the milk.  The first couple weeks even, he would show you that he just wants his mommy as well.”


Breast milk is the ideal food for infants.  Not only is it safe, it also contains antibodies which help to protect against many common childhood illnesses.  Celebrating breastfeeding removes the stigma that mothers should not be engaged in such activity in public.  For Briheda Haylock, the opportunity to curate an art exhibit showcasing breastfeeding mothers was a no-brainer.


Briheda Haylock

Briheda Haylock, Artist

“The exhibit is entitled Latched, a society that supports breastfeeding.  So the exhibit is a vision of Ms. Penny Cassasola.  It’s a collaboration work with ICA [Institute of Creative Arts], Penny and myself.  So, Miss Penny came to me with a vision that she wants to bring more awareness to breastfeeding, but listening to her, it’s more of a positive perspective.  We know there is a lot of discrimination and there is more work that needs to be done for parents, but she wants us to look at what support is.”


In this case, encouragement means that families, including fathers, should rally around breastfeeding mothers.  Haylock’s art exhibition highlights not only women and children, but also men who are actively involved in the lives of their children.


Penny Cassasola

Penny Cassasola, Advance Lactation Consultant

“In keeping with the World Breastfeeding week theme this year which is “Step Up for Breastfeeding” and also through education and support and that’s what I am hoping that this exhibit describes how families gain that support.  How the community can express their appreciation of this important type of nutrition, because it’s not only nutrition for the baby but it’s also helpful for the mother’s health.”


Women who breastfeed also have reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers.  On the other hand, children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese and less prone to diabetes later in life.  The images on display at the Belisle Art Gallery at the Bliss evoke a certain kind of feeling for Fiona Welch.  She’s a young mother.


Fiona Welch

“It just makes me excited, like I’m glad that there are a lot more mothers breastfeeding.  It makes me feel like a lot more families are taking the picture and the idea of what family is, because not saying that if you’re out there and you’re not breastfeeding, you’re not having your family, you know.  But it’s taking the time off for your kids and giving them the utmost love that can, especially the bond that you gain in breastfeeding.  So it just makes me excited on a whole.”


The art exhibit uses black and white photography as the visual medium.  Beyond the many images on display, the show also pays homage to the work of Penny Cassasola, a lifelong advocate for breastfeeding.


Briheda Haylock

“The photography is an insight to Miss Penny’s clients that she has worked with over the years.  There are two perspectives of this art show, one is Miss Penny’s vision and the second perspective as the curator and artist of the show.  I wanted to give Miss Penny a tribute to all the work that she’s done for families in Belize, so there is a double meaning with this show tonight.”


Isani Cayetano For News Five.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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