By Chloe Diana Saunders
I am a Calgary based artist and third year painting major at the Alberta College of Art and Design. Media experimentation is a large part of my practice, however I work primarily in the fields of painting and drawing. I am interested in the qualities of form, color and composition in an abstract painting process. I believe that painting and drawing create a strong foundation in my practice from which I am able to explore ideas of material use, visual aesthetics and emotional responses in a complexity of directions.
Using the artist’s words, summarize the artwork and how they feel it reflects the patient’s moment of meaning
Getting to know Jennifer and her experience with her immune-mediated inflammatory disease (IMID) gave me insight into the individuality of each case. The piece that I created is a reflection of how an individual can choose to react in the face of adversity. This piece depicts a choice to continue striving for ones full potential, despite the inherent challenges of living with an IMID.
Using the artist’s words, describe how they felt about this experience
I thought that this experience was a really interesting collaboration of artist and non-artist, understanding and empathy. I felt that it was beneficial for both my partner and myself as we attempted to recontextualize their experience with a chronic illness into an artistic medium. In order to create a piece I was required to open myself up to the possibility of someone else’s suffering or challenges, in order to gain a more empathetic understanding of IMIDs. This experience exposed me to subject matter that would not have been part of my practice prior to this opportunity, for which I am grateful.
From Jennifer, living with Crohn’s disease
My first interaction following my Crohn’s diagnosis was with an individual who had succumbed to the impact the disease can have on your life. Sitting and listening to someone tell me my life was over was overwhelming. I left dreading what life would now offer. My doctor assured me that this was a choice and life can be what you make it. Leaving his office I made the conscious decision to where possible not let this disease change my life, providing some semblance of control over a disease that can often make you feel out of control.
‘Perspectives – Art, Inflammation and Me’ is an initiative that brings together more than 200 artists with patients in more than 40 countries. Together, they have created a series of paintings, sculptures, photos and other artistic expressions that vividly depict — and help others understand — the impact of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs). Inspired by patients’ stories, independent artists and students from a number of art universities created each piece to help more people better understand the burdens associated with some of these chronic and debilitating conditions. In addition to independent artists from all parts of the world, students from more than 15 universities coordinated by the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Universitat Politecnica de Valencia) were able to add their “Perspectives.”
Select a thumbnail to see a Canadian image and story.
More than 100 unique artistic expressions from ‘Perspectives – Art, Inflammation and Me’ debuted at the 9th Congress of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO) in Copenhagen, Denmark February 20, 2014, generously supported by AbbVie.