May Gallery: ‘Mother’s Milk, Father’s Blood’ photography exhibit, lecture Oct. 4

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Mother's Milk, Father's BloodElizabeth M. Claffey's “Mother’s Milk, Father’s Blood” exhibit examines contemporary Albanian identity, exploring the power of folklore in the Albanian ethos and capturing sometimes haunting moments of traditional antiquity shaded with thoughts of legend and magic.

The photography exhibit “Mother’s Milk, Father’s Blood” from Elizabeth M. Claffey will be on view at the Webster University May Gallery Oct. 4-Sept. 27. A lecture with Claffey will be held on Friday, Oct. 4, at 3 p.m. in Sverdrup 123, followed by an opening reception in the May Gallery from 5 to 7 p.m.

The photos examine contemporary Albanian identity and the complex intersection of present and past as shaped by a people’s perseverance, desire, hope, and conflict. Claffey's work focuses on how personal and familial narratives are shaped by interactions with both the private and public forces.

“As a visitor, I have tried to perceive a shared knowledge, a common understanding that deeply connects Albanians beyond western categories of identification,” saif Claffey. “This ethos is unwavering, elusive, an unspoken culture that creates resilience but can also generate isolation. ‘Mother’s Milk, Father’s Blood’ is an attempt to visually and emotionally access something that is not available to me verbally or intellectually.”

Claffey’s work explores the power of folklore in the Albanian ethos and captures sometimes haunting moments of traditional antiquity shaded with thoughts of legend and magic. Images capturing moments from the 2012 Albanian centennial are also part of this dialogue. “The mother’s milk and the father’s blood are part of a deep folkloric tradition, which can explain one’s past while simultaneously shaping the future,”said Claffey.

About the Artist

Elizabeth M. Claffey is an assistant professor of Photography at Indiana University in Bloomington and a 2019-20 Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. She has an MFA in Studio Art from Texas Woman's University, where she also earned a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies. In 2012, she was awarded a William J. Fulbright Fellowship. She used this fellowship to fund her documentary and creative research in Eastern Europe.

Her work has been recognized by PDN Magazine, Center Santa Fe, The Eddie Adams Workshop, and various galleries and publications including Strange Fire Collective, Don't Take Pictures Magazine, and Western Exhibitions in Chicago.

About the May Gallery

The May Gallery at Webster University is a nonprofit gallery dedicated to photographic visual arts and is dedicated to promoting, celebrating and exhibiting contemporary professional and student works.

The May Gallery and May Gallery Events are free and open to the public. May Gallery events are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

The May Gallery at Webster University
Sverdrup Complex, Second Floor, West Wing
8300 Big Bend Blvd.
Webster Groves, MO 63119

For more information contact Bill Barrett, May Gallery director, at 314-246-7673 or at

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