Resilience!

Here is the link for the new website called Resilience created by the clever folk at Fistula Foundation

The website is designed to accompany the Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula exhibition, which is sponsored by Johnson and Johnson and Kupona  and opens May 23rd at the Kimmel Galleries in  New York. The website showcases a ‘preview’ selection of the pieces that I have made after two visits to Tanzania, to CCBRT and to the Mabinti Centre  where I worked with fistula patients both before and directly after their surgery, and during their recovery. Also on the site you can find some beautiful work by three other artists/photographers who make work about obstetric fistula. The site is great and demonstrates the power of the visual to express and articulate the experience of fistula.

Thanks FF!!

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preparation continues for NY exhibition

I’ve just heard that all the work for the Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula exhibition has arrived in New York ready to hang on May 22nd! Here is a sneak preview of one of the pieces of new work that will be shown. Preparations are now seriously going ahead and one of the exhibition partners, the Fistula Foundation has created a fantastic supporting website. It is soon to go live – watch this space for more information soon!

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NEW YORK exhibition!

The Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula exhibition in New York is finally official! (see below).

The show will bring together two bodies of work for the Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula project: the first series of drawings completed after my visit in 2014 to the Fistula Clinic at CCBRT in Tanzania, and a second brand new body of work completed after my second visit to Tanzania last year. As you can see from previous posts on this site, we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to exhibit the first series of drawings at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London last year. This show was kindly sponsored by Johnson and Johnson who are again sponsoring this second, much larger exhibit in New York, which is this time being organsed and hosted by the Kupona Foundation and partners. My sincere thanks to all those, too numerous to mention here individually, who have made this possible – and of course to all of the women themselves at the fistula clinic and The Mabinti Centre, who taught me much and with whom it was my privilege to work.

The exhibition will continue at the Kimmel galleries for six weeks from May 23rd.

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Mgoo!! Today we draw feet!

Much giggling accompanied today’s drawing exercise at the Mabinti Centre  The women drew around each other’s feet to create a basis for decorating and designing using ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ colours as they learned them yesterday. The hot and cold feet idea seemed to captivate them and there were some very interesting design choices – including a foot of pineapples!

DSCN0536 DSCN0713Tomorrow we will work with continuous line and draw portraits. The group last week seemed to very much enjoy drawing each others faces and the results were so good that they are going to be used as designs for the various textile products made by the women at Mabinti. The drawings had to be adapted slightly in order to be turned into screenprints so I needed to go over the women’s original lines with a thick black marker. The results though were very well received and the women were very proud to know that they will be used for the Mabinti range. So, watch out for beautiful products soon to be available from the Mabinti workshop….below is a sneak preview of some of the faces.

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Beautiful day; beautiful people

Cleaning the screen

Cleaning the screen

Another successful day at the Mabinti Centre in dar es Salaam. This is the start of my second and last week working with the women there and this week’s group were just as enthusiastic and engaged with the creative work as were the first group. Colour theory was new and fascinating to them and the colour wheel, a magic thing! The womens’ sense of design seems innate and they were making beautiful and complex patterns on a basic framework consisting of six lines and 5 circles. We went on to talk about hot (johto) colours and cold (baridi) colours. Swahili and English got all mixed up with laughter and a truly healthy competitive spirit when we started to play a ‘colour game’ with a whole assortment of tiny textile paint bottles!

After a hearty lunch of rice and beans and Tanzanian spinach I continued to sketch and take photographs of the site and of the people working there. As I sat in the cool shade of the banda, quietly sketching the women as they went about washing up the plastic boxes they ate their food from, and cutting cloth in the outside work space, I felt I was in a place where things – lives – change.

A trip to the supermarket in the early evening was an equally moving experience. I walked  with new found and very wonderful friends, who hail from Denmark, and  they led me through the ‘local neighborhood’ here in Mikocheni. My artist self was intoxicated by the richness and the authenticity of everything that was around me – the people, the smells, the colours, the smiles, the narrowness of the dirt streets (that I have to admit did encroach on my closely guarded sense of  claustrophobia!) and the incredibly stark juxtaposition of the barefoot scraps of humanity who were playing, as children will, in the heat and the dust, and their impeccably clad elder siblings coming home from school in distinctive and immaculate uniforms. Chickens run to and fro in the neighbourhood, many, many  people  sit, chat to friends, or simply watch the world go by outside small, dark houses or bars. They work on cars, motorbikes, bajaji, they sell their fruit, vegetables, clothes or jewellery, they just, simply ..live their lives. We heard “Hallo! How are you?” at every turn. The children repeat it endlessly until we respond and then reply back to us with enormous smiles. “Welcome!” (Karibu) rings in your ears always here in Dar and we heard it no less infrequently here n the nieghbourhood. This was an experience burnt into my memory…. my thanks to Eva and Claus.

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Washing dishes after lunch

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Outside workspace