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Bea Nettles: Moon Sisters

Return to Exhibition

The Moon Sisters
With a poem by Grace Nettles (American, 1919–2007)
[Urbana, IL]: self-published, 1990
Booklet
Private collection

As Nettles’s daughter, Rachel, neared puberty, Nettles began to explore the topic of menstrual cycles. She confronted the subject directly in several works, including this small booklet. The images in it depict Rachel, Nettles herself, and Nettles’s mother, whose respective ages at the time corresponded to the three parts of menstrual life: menarche (the onset of menstruation), menstruation, and menopause. The moon frequently appeared as a symbol in her earlier works such as the series Flamingo in the Dark. Here, she compares the lunar phases to women’s biological cycles.