As an international public health doctor, I spent most of my professional life trying to reduce the complications of pregnancy and childbirth in developing countries, to facilitate conception if women wanted to, to allow them not to have a pregnancy if they did not want it. I therefore had meetings with thousands of pregnant women and health professionals, in the most remote maternity centres as well as in large hospitals. I spoke with matrons and midwives and heard incredible stories. I also took advantage of my travels on all continents to browse the markets, visit museums, meet artists, listen to storytellers, note stories. My luggage was filled with objects and images about maternity, often unusual or astonishing. I have gathered them in an unique collection, that I want to share with all those interested in the subject. ”
Despite the universality of the reproductive function, and its happy ending in the vast majority of cases, expectant mothers all have some apprehensions to the idea of these events. Many feel anxiety about failing this responsibility. This is what I call “triple maternal anxiety”. To be able to conceive, to make a beautiful child, to give birth without problem. And this is the subject of this collection, and the book that accompanies it. Representations of hope, expectation and birth, through the centuries and cultures of the world..
It is not surprising that fertility is surrounded by so many myths, legends, sayings, rituals, magical practices, medical or spiritual solicitations intended to call the achievement of conception, to ward off the risk malformation of the fetus, to ensure the smooth running of a delivery often perceived in silence as a serious risk. Few life events are followed so closely by society and culture. But surprisingly the imagery does not follow. I was therefore interested in objects and images, amulets, fetishes, talismans, ex-votos, designed and manufactured by artists, priests, wizards, blacksmiths, shamans, or by inspired anonymous people. These objects, these images constitute the base of my collection, quickly become a passion: my own way to build a unique monument, to realize my tour of the world and humanity. Driven by the impetus and the desire to know more, I added works of art found in museums and galleries, in private collections, in churches, temples, sanctuaries
- Born in 1948 in Toulouse, France.
- Studied medicine at University of Toulouse, France (thesis 1978), Speciality: Pediatrics
- Master in Public Health (MPH), John Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA, 1985. Chosen options: Maternal and Child Health.
- PhD in Public Health, University of Nancy, France, 1998.
- Various missions undertaken with Médecins Sans Frontières from 1978 to 1983 (Thailand, Rwanda, Eritrea, Somalia).
- Work as expert and adviser in Maternal and Newborn Health in international organizations (ICDDR.B in Bangladesh, Save the Children in Laos).
- Member of the Centre for Population Studies, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), AMDD, Columbia University, and IMMPACT, University of Aberdeen
- UNFPA Representative in Cambodia, Morocco, and Djibouti
- Senior Maternal Health Advisor, UNFPA, Geneva Office, from 2002 to 2011. Strategies for the reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity, and for promotion of reproductive health.
- Retired in Montpellier, France, and co-founder of the consultancy company HOLISTIC SANTE since 2011.