Judy Chicago’s “Hatching the Universal Egg”


Birth Project: Hatching the Universal Egg E5 Birth Power

Between 1980-1985, Judy Chicago, a well-known artist who pioneered Feminist Art of the twentieth-century, worked on a large-scale project entitled, Birth Project.[1]  Having noticed the lack of art devoted to the topic of birth in Western culture, Chicago set out to fill the void herself, creating new art about birth on a monumental scale.  In the making of her work, Chicago created birth images for the public, collaborating with women who had already given birth to hear their birth stories, and ultimately utilizing the skills of 150 needle workers from around the United States, who stitched and embroidered the images onto silk.[2]  Chicago chose this particular medium because it represented a powerful art form connected to art created by women over the course of history.[3]

In the work above, Hatching the Universal Egg, Chicago depicts a woman giving birth while a warm stream of light flows from her open body.  The symmetrical composition of the woman’s body, combined with the gentle flow of light from her womb, is both calming and empowering to the viewer.  The stream of light flows downward, using gravity to aid the woman in her birthing process, while she squats strongly and peacefully as her body opens up and releases her egg of life.

Judy Chicago is an American artist known for her large-scale feminist installation pieces, which engage the viewere and explore the roles and treatment of women in history, art and culture.  Her work is available widely across the internet, and more about her Birth Project may be seen here.


[1] See Chicago’s website: http://www.judychicago.com/?p=biography

[3] Including the medieval workshops connected to the church, the all-female Renaissance guilds, and the culture of nineteenth-century quilting, where women also stitched secret codes into their quilts (see http://throughtheflower.org/page.php?p=12&n=2).