The Private View of the projects first exhibition took place yesterday evening at The RCOG in Regents Park, London. It was a great night and very successful! The show will remain at the RCOG until June 5th and if you are in or near London you can find out full details on how to visit here: Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula.
Below you can find all images of all the work on show, along with the short speech I gave on the night!
First of all of course I would like to thank the RCOG for giving me the opportunity me to show my work here at this important event. It is a privilege to play even a small part in acknowledging this year’s International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. I would like also to thank the sponsors Johnson and Johnson, and of course all of you who have come here to make tonight very special.
As an artist I believe very strongly that images have the capacity to communicate in ways that go far beyond the limitations of words. I suppose then that given my own images are all over the walls here I shouldn’t say too much more!
However, what’s most important I think to say is that my work is about experience and I understand what I do as an‘act of witness’. This exhibition then is not meant to be simply portraits of specific individuals, it rather uses the concept of portraiture itself as a framework for an expression of my own very powerful experience of simply being with these women, on their own terms, and trying to understand their unique experiences of what they were going through.
When I first talked with Alison about going to visit CCBRT in Tanzania I was unsure of how the sort of work I do could be of any help or value. But on getting there, and simply being within the environment of the Fistula Clinic, I found that not only did drawing take on a new kind of meaning in that situation, indeed I had to reassess much of the way I understood many things in life. My inability to speak Swahili, and the often very stark cultural differences between myself and the women there, rather than being limitations, actually became vehicles towards what felt like far deeper forms of communication. We conversed through expression, though gesture, and most importantly through the content of the images I was constantly, almost obsessively drawing in my sketchbook. My experience of their experience then was, as I said, very powerful and moving and as an artist, and most importantly as a human being, it demonstrated very profoundly that, the language of the visual allows us to reach a mutuality beyond linguistic and cultural boundaries. Art touches the intuitive and emotional part of us. It responds to the basic human need to be acknowledged and appreciated by others. I hope then that you will enjoy the drawings in the exhibition here and appreciate the resilience, the courage, and the unadulterated beauty of the women who inspired them.
Please note that all the works (where not otherwise indicated) are for sale: Drawings 1-10 (approx. 150x120cms: £1750, Drawings 11-13 (approx: 60x42cms) £975. A percentage of the proceeds will help fund the further development of the project. Please contact me should you be interested in purchasing any of the work.
(Please respect my copyright: ask my permission before reproducing any of these images or any others that appear on my sites) ENJOY!