Baby Love by Cerrie Burnell

15 February 2011 - 24 April 2011

Baby Love was an exhibition of photographic portraits and interviews about discovering the joys, difficulties and realities of being a single mother in modern Britain. Interviews by Cerrie Burnell, photography by Caroline Purday.

"Before I stepped through the doors of the Foundling Museum, I had wandered around a great many museums, disorientated by their grandeur and fascinated by their beautiful vases. But the collections always felt completely separate from my life. And then, one day, I came across a display of tiny trinkets: a button, a hazelnut, a stitch of fabric…As I stood staring at them, the reality of the situation seemed to jump out of the past and rattle my heart. They were Love tokens, left by mothers of illegitimate children, forced by poverty, shame or simply desperation to give up their children. This button was not just simply a button; it represented somebody’s whole world, the last thing she gave her child, the last time she saw them...I am so thankful, relieved and proud to live in a time when single parents are an accepted part of society, and the exhibition, Baby Love, champions that."

Cerrie Burnell spent six months meeting and interviewing mothers, discovering their stories. Cerrie juggles being a single mother with a successful career as a CBeebies presenter and actress. She has a long association with helping disadvantaged people, including working with Augusto Boal’s political theatre company in Brazil and volunteering at a leprosy centre in India. Cerrie has also run workshops for Cardboard Citizens and disability charity Shape, and is one of the Foundling Museum's Coram Fellows.

Caroline Purday’s intimate, natural style of photography captures the unique personalities of her subjects. Caroline has worked with design and branding agencies, The Independent and Selvedge magazine as well as charities and community projects. Baby Love was exhibited in the Coram Café.

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