Matilda Fraser

The Race Marches Forward on the Feet of Little Children (2018)

8 min 37 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

An essay film which pairs original text from Truby King on plants, motherhood and health with images of nature and historical sites. The artist performs subtle and staged gestures, scattering infant formula on a map and a potted plant.

"The sickness and debility of babies is due to mere ignorance and carelessness: rarely to intentional neglect or cruelty." - Save The Babies Week, 28 October–2 November, 1917.

"Sir Frederic Truby King (1858-1938) was a scientist, farmer, gardener, doctor, educator, and a key figure in New Zealand healthcare reform during the first half of the twentieth century. From 1889, he was the Medical Superintendent at Seacliff Lunatic Asylum, before establishing the Society for the Health of Women and Children at Karitane in 1907—later named the Plunket Society.  Over the course of his life he worked tirelessly to promote mothercraft, breastfeeding, and the training of women as nurses, campaigned against the dangers of over-education in women, contributed to the literature of the eugenics movement, and developed a complete food for infants known as 'humanised' milk."

Artist's statement

Other works by Matilda Fraser

CIRCUIT is the
leading voice
for artist moving image
in Aotearoa New Zealand,
distributing works,
critical review and
which reflect our unique, contemporary
South Pacific context.