Birth Canal

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Digital Painting, 32" x 18"

A dry desert above, a deep pool within, the vagina is the desert river canal of the human body. Maintaining an acidic pH is crucial to keeping the bacterial species of this canal in proper balance and preventing invasive species from dominating the landscape. I have depicted this part of the body as a nighttime scene to emphasize the cultural taboo around the vagina which creates a mystique and lack of common knowledge about proper healthcare practices, shrouding important information in darkness.

Detail Images

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The outer layer, the vulva, is a desert expanse of skin. Seemingly similar to other fleshy areas, the desert is actually a unique ecosystem, different from other areas of the body. Hair grows as vegetation here, protecting us from friction which can allow harmful bacteria, responsible for sexually transmitted infections or urinary tract infections, to enter the body. The bacteria here, harmful and beneficial, spread from person to person through intimate contact; the biology of our bodies reflects our relationships with others.

Digital Painting, 16" x 9"

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Digital Painting, 16" x 9"

The waters below carve away at the desert rock, shaping it for years to come, just as the bacteria in the vagina do for newborn babies. The bacteria here are passed to the baby during vaginal delivery, shaping the child's immune system in the coming years. People with predominantly Lactobacillus bacteria in their vagina have a lower risk of giving birth prematurely. Infants delivered through the birth canal receive these good bacteria and may be less likely to develop asthma, obesity, or chronic health conditions. The vaginal bacteria are inherited through the birth process, a microbial link between mother and child.