Check out the new page (click on link above) for a slide show highlighting the NY show!
Here is a clay head that I made as a piece for the current exhibition at the Waterloo Teahouse gallery in Cardiff. It is based on some of the drawings and portraits in the show. My thanks to all those who are continuing to support the exhibition as it runs to the end of the month, your feedback has been very encouraging and sometimes very moving. I am looking forward to seeing some of you there tomorrow evening when I and Professor Alison Fiander will be giving a talk and inviting discussion about the Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula Project. For those of you unable to attend I will post a transcript of Alison’s talk here on the site after the event.
I am looking forward also to traveling back to Tanzania next month where I will be visiting the The Mabinti Centre. I will be running creative workshops with the women there who are learning how to build new lives for themselves, having undergone fistula surgery. I am hoping to create another body of work when I get back for an exhibition next year in the US.
Here are a few pictures from the Cardiff launch of the Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula project. It was a lovely night both inside and outside the venue with the evening sunshine bringing in a good crowd! Thanks to everyone who came and supported us and thanks also to those who have already purchased some of the works. All are on sale and proceeds will go towards continuing to develop the project.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
This and the previous image will form part of an Exhibition to celebrate the project which will be at The Waterloo Tea gallery in Cardiff throughout August this year. More details to follow…