Can we ever really see each other?

Can we ever really see each other?

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This work represents an ongoing body of work exploring women's experiences of illness. It was presented at Galway University Hospital with Galway International Arts Festival, Galway University Arts Trust and SAOLTA, 2017. The exhibition comprised of a photographic series, large scale sculptural installation and text. The photographic series focused on societal perceptions of illness and our capacity to see and comprehend each other. The installation examined the intimate experience of living moment by moment in chronic pain, when forced to confront our own fragility and capacity.

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The photographic series explored the themes of the capacity to see each other and the changing relationship women with chronic illness have to their own bodies, others and their role and position in society. The hands represent a process of movement or transition reaching forth in an attempt to make contact with themselves and others, reflected in the shadow, akin to the projections we impose on each other. The clarity of the images was degraded to reflect the difficulty of comprehending one another, but life size to juxtapose with the inclination to want to touch and make contact. The photographs were presented as a series, with the first and last image being the same, indicating marks of punctuation to the question.

Moment by Moment, 2017. Detail of sculptural installation. Paper, 3.5 x 5.0 metres. Galway International Arts Festival, Galway University Hospital Arts Trust, SAOLTA.

Moment by Moment, 2017. Detail of sculptural installation. Paper, 3.5 x 5.0 metres. Galway International Arts Festival, Galway University Hospital Arts Trust, SAOLTA.

Moment by Moment, focuses directly on my experience of living within my capacity.  One expression of this work was sculptural and represented the corporeal experience of living moment by moment in pain. A reflection of becoming entirely consumed by bodily experience in moments incapacitated by acute illness. Lengths of paper were cut and folded into forms to represent the mapping of attending to that experience. The sculptural pieces being reminiscent of the Möbius Strip that mathematically equates to non-orientability whilst the interior and exterior surfaces are linked by one continuous boundary.

This formed a sculptural installation exhibited in Galway University Hospital as part of Galway International Arts Festival, 2017. The large-scale installation comprised of 200 individual pieces fabricated from paper and suspended from the 8 metre ceiling, spanning 3.5 metres across with a drop of 5 metres. Paper was the chosen medium as, in part, the work is about fragility & impermanence. It also relates to notions of anti monumentalism and the idea that paper is commonplace and therefore often disregarded and considered of no significance. However, it holds such historical and cultural significance within our everyday lives. Working with paper questions the commonlace assumptions and alludes to the societal role of those incapacitated as being considered of little value and the contradiction of anti-monumentalism within a large-scale sculpture presented in an institution.