The Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula Project is set to continue in a big way thanks to much appreciated support from Johnson and Johnson and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Johnson and Johnson, who sponsored the exhibition last month at the RCOG in London are now supporting me to return to Tanzania in September. I will be working there with the women who are recovering from fistula surgery and are staying at the Mabinti Centre in Dar Es Salaam where they are being supported physically and psychologically while learning creative and business skills in order to resume a normal life. I visited Mabinti on my first visit to Dar (see previous post) and this time, along with making sketches and notes to produce a further body of work for the project, I will be running drawing and lino-cut printing workshops with the women there.
At the Mabinti Centre , Dar Es Salaam
Johnson & Johnson, a long standing supporter of fistula programmes, makes great efforts to reduce fistula and maternal mortality by ‘scaling-up’ access to maternal health services and skilled birth attendants.The infographic below was produced for the Campaign to End Fistula in partnership with Johnson and Johnson.
Fistula Infographic – JNJ UNFPA – 500K
I am looking forward very much to the trip, and to making new work towards a major exhibition at the Johnson and Johnson Headquarters in New Brunswick NJ next year, before touring around public venues throughout the USA!
Here is something I wrote in my sketchbook as I was working on the drawings for the London show. It was written very soon after I returned home after the trip to Tanzania….
The work poured out of me
As fluidly and uncontrollably as urine flowed through the fistula
In the safety and the solitude of the studio,
alone but for the company of imagery
I heard myself howl
It was a deep and primal sound
My response to the experience of being with these women
Trying to understand
Compassion and emotion dissipated into raw emotion,
more fundamentally human than tears – although tears followed
I draw from the heart,
from the head,
from the vast space inside myself where the sense and origin of womanhood is nurtured.
Here is the link the the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Storify website where they have posted videos of the speeches (including mine!) from the Opening night of the Exhibition. https://storify.com/RCObsGyn/international-day-to-end-obstetric-fistula?utm_source=embed_header
Here is the poster for our new exhibition in Cardiff throughout August this year. I hope that those of you who are in the area might get a chance to see it while it is up. On AUGUST 19th, 6.30 – 8.30pm, myself and Alison Fiander, surgeon and Clinical Lead for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Leading Safe Choices Programme, will be at the Waterloo Gardens Teahouse to give a public talk, and discuss the ongoing development of the project. All are welcome and refreshments will be available.