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March 20, 2017 in Uncategorized | Tags: art, cancer, creativity, culture, death, disease, drawing, dying, grief, illness, language, life, literature, medical science, medicine, NHS, pain, painting, paper, patient autonomy. patient advocacy, philosophy, poetry | Leave a comment
Through my work I have seen and experienced much that accords with the worthy aims of medicine as a science that begins with preventing, treating and/or curing illness, and, where cure is not possible, end with facilitating what has been called ‘a good death’. I have also seen and experienced things that have given me pause and reason to question. I will continue questioning on behalf of the patient.
Its been a good first week, a very busy week and one that has afforded me a rich opportunity to reflect on my practice in a very intensive way. It has also brought a complete change in the way I am working. Here, I am sitting mostly alone in the dissection room poring over small scale intricate drawings, whereas over the last few months back in my studio in Cardiff I have been working on large scale drawings and oil paintings to prepare for the Breast Cancer: a creative intervention exhibition. The difference in practical terms is stark, but the sense of immersion in the work is the same, if not intensified, here in Dundee as when I am alone I find I can enter depths of myself that general life often dictates I should bridge. Moreover, the feeling of being so welcomed within an environment where the science behind what I do as an artist is so ‘palpable’ is exciting and inspirational. It’s also very interesting in relation to the differences between the science lab and the hospital wards and theatres that I work in.
I am teaching here too. Running the life drawing classes and joining in on the ‘crits’ with students on the MSc Forensic and Medical Art courses is a pleasure and a great experience. It is a valuable challenge to adapt my way of teaching to address what the students need most. It helps of course that they are keen and willing to learn. In the image below thats me at the back – drawing on the wall!
I am staying in Broughty Ferry, a small coastal town just outside the city and it has become for me very special place. Being by the water is always very evocative for me but that’s another, longer story! For now I simply offer the image here (taken from the window of my rented flat) of the sunset that I came home to yesterday evening.
October 18, 2016 in Uncategorized | Tags: africa, art, cadaver, creativity, death, dissection, drawing, dying, grief, hospital, language, life, literature, moving, museum, pain, philosophy, poetry, teaching, thoughts, University | Leave a comment
There’s that smell again
Familiar to me now
not the smell of Death so much as of lives once been
Remnants steeped in Thiel fluid
the smell of life deconstructed
A head torn from the vertebrae
Mouth agape as if gulping a final breath
Skin flayed from the mandible
Eyeless sockets that still see me
plead to be once more hidden under the plastic shroud
I am cold
It is cold in here
The remnant of his eyebrow expresses such pathos
Defying recourse to objectivity
to cold death
My drawing begins to change
I pull back the plastic shroud even further