“Niddah” Art: Maybe This Month

niddah artwork by Jacqueline Nicholls "Maybe This Month"

A blogger sent me this photo of Jacqueline Nicholls’ art, saying it was too “intense” for her site.   The piece looks tame, but contains several layers of meaning.

The artist explains:

It comes from my years experiencing the monthly niddah rituals, checking and preparing to go to the mikveh, while also experiencing fertility problems. The monthly cycle being one of disappointment (sometimes despair), a private grief, and then as it approaches the time of immersion, a week of quietly building hope. Maybe this month it will work, maybe this month I will get pregnant, maybe this month, maybe…. The different ways of writing the text ‘maybe this month’ relate to different emotional states that the monthly hope ‘maybe…’ is whispered. It is embroidered in white on 15 white niddah examination cloths, but sewn together in red.

You can see more of Nicholls’ work on her website, where she “explores traditional Jewish ideas in untraditional ways.”

Source: Zeek Magazine

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  1. I have to say it is intriguing from the modern Jewish woman’s perspective. On the provocative scale, this one doesn’t particularly send my eyes popping out like much post-Femmenist modern art tends to but rather her whole collection seems to push the Talmud and Torah into a familiar and tangible place. Thank you for sharing this link, I’ll be passing it on.

  2. Ms. Krieger says

    Thanks for posting this.

    “Maybe this month” can be read so many different way…both within and without the context of infertility.

    I also enjoyed the link to website. The “Ladies Guild” work particularly appealed.

  3. This is a really touching piece of work. I had a look at the rest of Nicholl’s work on the site you link to. It very moving stuff.

  4. I actually really like this – it’s so powerful and emotional. Not something I would have hanging in my living room :), but I really appreciate the thought behind it.

  5. Thanks for posting this. It touched my heart.

  6. Intriguing and “different”. I find it quite touching and it conveys a strong message, which I felt even before reading the explanation.

  7. All of the artwork on the link you posted is very interesting. Though the piece you show here was by far the most moving to me. As someone who battled infertility, and more specifically, halachic infertility, this piece actually brought tears to my eyes.

    The conflict between one of the purposes of taharat hamishpacha (bringing a couple together during the time that should be the most fertile time) and the fact that my body wasn’t responding according to the guidelines of halacha made me despise those little white cloths for many years. Somehow, the hopefullness for the coming month paired with that dreaded symbol of my problem strikes a very deep chord.

    Thanks for sharing.

  8. Expecting our first child after struggling through many years of infertility, I find this piece so moving. Thank you for posting it.

  9. I wonder why the blogger found this “too intense”?

  10. sylvia_rachel says

    Oh. How … oh. There are tears in my eyes.

    I hope that eventually it did become “this month” for her.

    • faith/emuna says

      sylvia rachel i looked on her site and i hope i understood correctly from a different peice of her art that she has experienced a pregnancy.
      hannah thanks for posting it, i dont see it controversial at all, definitely extremely moving, the image is poignant and haunting and can be used to put life in perspective.

  11. I too am moved by this art – because it expresses a feeling I had for years when struggling with secondary infertility. On the other hand I would not put it on my blog.

    It seems a bit too private a subject to put on such a public venue.

  12. Wow, I felt this like a punch in my stomach. I struggled with secondary infertility, and I had put to the back of my mind that very feeling. Seeing this brought all those memories flooding back. A very powerful work for me, and I am glad I saw it and wish I had not seen it, at the same time.


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