Breastfeeding Sand Sculpture Wins Big in N.J. — and with Moms Everywhere

Photo by Meredith Massey.

It won second place in an Atlantic City contest, but a sand sculpture depicting a woman nursing a child has clearly placed first in the hearts of many breastfeeding moms.

“Timeless Story,” by Russian sculptors Pavel Mylnikov and Aleksei Diakov, depicts a woman with flowing, windswept locks cradling an infant suckling at her right breast. Behind the cozy pair is an angel whose majestic wings frame the scene.

The piece placed second late last week among sculptures created by duos in the DO AC Sand Sculpting World Cup, winning Mylnikov and Diakov $5,600. But beyond cash, Mylnikov and Diakov have won the admiration of countless moms, both those who saw the sculpture in person and those who happened upon pictures of it online: A photo of “Timeless Story” posted to the La Leche League USA Facebook page on Wednesday morning generated some 4,000 likes and hundreds of shares in under an hour, with commenters lavishing praise on the piece.

“The look of love and serenity of a mother nursing her child is captured splendidly,” one admirer wrote.

For Tiffany Lacasse, who saw “Timeless Story” in person, the sculpture’s popularity is intensely gratifying. While the sculpture photo going viral is by Linwood, N.J. mom Meredith Massey, Lacasse shared online her own special photo — herself breastfeeding her infant son while standing in front of the piece.

“I’ve been nursing child after child for the last five years,” said Lacasse, a mom of four from Egg Harbor Township, N.J. who blogs at The Crunchy Mom Next Door, “and I’m comfortable with my decision but I’ve always felt a pang of anxiety about nursing in public due to the stigma. This piece of nursing artwork made me feel proud.”

Lacasse said she waited in a long line along with other excited beachgoers to pose with the sculpture. After snapping the photo, she said, “for the first time ever, I walked around the displays and back to my car nursing my son … and I was proud instead of nervous.”

Photo by Tiffany Lacasse.

DO AC Sand Sculpting World Cup manager and judge John Gowdy, whose company produced the event, said he generally asks sculptors not to depict nudity in their entries. While “Timeless Story,” Gowdy said, was “pushing the limit a little bit,” he was happy to include it in the competition.

“It’s a very naturally occurring thing for a mother to breastfeed her baby and we had reality in our sculpture,” he said.

In a brief phone conversation, Mylnikov, who was rushing to the airport Wednesday morning to return to Moscow, appeared a little surprised at moms’ passionate responses to his piece.

“We found it very interesting,” he said, adding that he and Diakov make many family-oriented pieces.

“Timeless Story” and the 29 other sand sculptures entered in the contest — including one more prize-winning entry by Mylinkov in the singles competition — will remain on display on the beach near Atlantic City’s Pennsylvania Avenue through July 6.

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