Page1we are launching the Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula project in Cardiff with an exhibition of new work 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, 6.30pm – 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 talk and discuss the ongoing development of the project. All are welcome and refreshments will be available.

The Exhibition at The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, May 2015: Now ONLINE!!

The Private View of the Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula project’s 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.

In the meantime you can see images of all the work on show on the Artist’s Blog on my other dedicated wordpress site here: Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula

Here is a small oil piece (approx.15x10cm) that I have been working on as part of the Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula project. It will form part of an exhibition in Cardiff in August this year…more details to come.

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My son lives in Glasgow. His English history has long since been transplanted into Scottish soil and he has set down roots that are strong and spreading. The lilting quality of his acquired accent betrays his allegiances, and he is the reason that the piece of my heart still left in Glasgow still thrives. My son is Finn Le Marinel; musician, songwriter, poet… a tall thin man. He sings about pain and about possibility. His lyrics draw on the raw emotion that resides in the wreckage of broken relationships, and as he sifts through the detritus of these things he raps and taps the belly of his guitar to create percussive undertones that must both haunt and herald a sense of hope.

My son sifts through the archives of my work to find pieces that he can relate to and use on his album and EP covers. We travel an emotional road together. Last night he launched a new EP, Love is Waves at The Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow. The event was sold out. Here are the images that this time. for the first time, I made specifically for each of the four tracks.

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I have been working steadily since beginning my three-month visit as a visiting researcher at Glasgow University. I am now a little over half way through my time here and I have been reading so much about life lived by William Hunter and his peers in London in the 1700’s that I feel as if I almost live there myself! So much so that it is a jolt to the system to step out at the end of the day from the library or from my borrowed office into the 21st Century milieu of Glasgow’s West End.

I have also been drawing however, from the anatomical specimens in the anatomy museum and also from the original Rymsdyk drawings themselves in the University Library Special Collections department. My aim with the latter is not to make slavish copies, but rather to use my own form of mark making and technique to respond to the work I have before me. The images below are drawings that are still ‘in process’. The adherence to the original is still a major factor in them but I feel that this is bound to change as work progresses. In the first piece I am using a ballpoint pen – an instrument that I believe was not invented until the late 19th century – and I wondered as I worked on this drawing (after Table Vi of The Gravid Uterus) what Rymsdyk himself would have had to say about it. Seems he was never too backward at coming forward with his opinions, as evidenced in the little disguised rant that accompanies his and his son’s beautiful drawings in his Museum Brittanicum, Being an Exhibition of a great Variety of Antiquities and Natural Curiosities belonging to the Noble and Magnificent cabinet, the British Museum, illustrated with Curious Prints, published in 1778.

My eventual aim is to use these drawings as a basis for an exhibition which will focus on the study of anatomy and way is it conceived and exploited.

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International Day to End Obstetric Fistula 2015

The UNFPA International Day to End Obstetric Fistula will be taking place on 23 May 2015. This year to mark the day, the RCOG is delighted to be able to exhibit the work of artist Dr Jac Saorsa.

Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula

Exploring the ramifications of maternal birth trauma through art

Work of Dr Jac Saorsa

When

23 May – 4 June 2015

Where

RCOG, 27 Sussex place, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4RG

The exhibition

This exhibition is an exploration of African women’s experience of Obstetric Fistula through art and aims to:

  • To raise awareness of obstetric fistula in low resource countries
  • To increase current understanding of the experience of women with fistula
  • To enhance understanding of the experience of women living with incurable fistula
  • To celebrate the resilience, dignity and courage of women with fistula and the healthcare workers who strive to repair ‘damaged bodies.’

The exhibition is open to all RCOG Fellows, Members, friends and colleagues.

Register your interest

If you are interested in attending then please register here. The Exhibition will also go live online on 23rd May.

This is the latest one of my drawings in the Glasgow University Anatomy Museum. It is from a plaster cast William Hunter made of a dissection of a pregnant woman at around the sixth month of pregnancy. My aim was to get a more ‘lifelike’ feel about the drawing  – to find the innocence and the warmth of the ‘real’ foetus under the painted plaster.

Its been a while since my last post and things have been quite frantic. Since returning from Tanzania I have been working on drawings for the Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula show at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London in May (more on that later) but now I am in Glasgow working in the Medical Humanities Research Centre, with many thanks to the Wellcome Trust who have funded this three month visit.

Through this post are some of the drawings I have been doing in the Glasgow University Anatomy Museum.

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I am writing a paper in which I hope will put the Drawing Women’s Cancer project into historical and philosophical context. All of the work up to now on the project has been directly concerned with the here and now – with the experiences of women in the present, and this was the primary aim from the beginning . I feel however that to enhance the validity and indeed the credibility of the work, it is very necessary to ‘ground’ the project in relation to what has gone before. Here is a pertinent section of the proposal that WT approved:

The paper will look at how perceptions of the woman patient between the 18th century rise of obstetrics and the ‘man-midwife’ persona of William Hunter and his Scottish contemporaries, through the 19th century advancement of gynaecology to the present day treatment of gynaecological disease, have influenced present day attitudes – both medical and general – towards gynaecological illness and its overall impact on women’s lives, and moreover, how these attitudes were and can be affected by and through visual art. I will focus on a methodological and philosophical comparison of Hunter’s Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus (drawings by Jan Van Rymsdyk) and the development of my own drawings for Drawing Women’s Cancer as a basis from which to explore how visual art as a form of expression and communication can, as a form of ‘metalanguage’, effectively serve to ‘speak the unspeakable’ in this area women’s health.

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I have been here for two weeks now and it is the historical context that has been engaging my time and thoughts  as I have discovered the University Anatomy Museum. The experience of drawing from the very same bodies that Rymsdyk drew from is a gift and in many ways very humbling. Further, Glasgow University Library holds the full set of Rymsdyk’s drawings for the Gravid Uterus in their Special Collections and I spent a whole afternoon studying them, trying to understand how he executed them – one artist to another –  and I have to admit I had a few surprises after only ever seeing the reproductions. I discovered that he definitely does use graphite in the drawings,  which are often considered to be just red chalk alone, and he also uses what looks like dilute ink in blue yellow and green. The drawings are less defined and precise in the flesh -and better for that!. In some there is definitely a ‘wetting’ if the chalk – and this is further evidenced by the buckling of the paper- but it is a technique he seems to use sparingly. Most of the tonal quality comes from exceptionally sensitive blending of the chalk and overall, to my mind, he does indeed have a very ‘painterly style.

In the drawings here I have used red chalk (or at least the modern equivalent) and graphite. I am not in any way trying to emulate Rymsdyk, I am simply trying to ‘get inside his head’ in search – through practice – of the subjective nuances of what he was doing. I am also – undeniably – enjoying myself enormously, and especially savouring the necessity to get back to a level of ‘discipline’ in the work!

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2015 has begun in style! I have been working on two ongoing projects recently. Medicine Unmasked at Swansea University College of Medicine…

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and Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula.

For the former I have been working in the full glare of public light in a small space in the clinical anatomy lab at the college. It has indeed been quite an experience…daunting at first to be so open to all the students and staff who frequented the lab but also very productive in terms of the wonderful dialogue I had – both with the work and with the people! For the latter I am working in my own studio in Cardiff. It is more private – perhaps more intense for that … I am tired but the images seem just to be pouring out of me so fast at present, such that I can hardly keep up with myself.

The Examination Room

The Examination Room

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