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Pain and Art


The photographer of this lovely little bird noticed the damaged feathers on its breast and wondered if it had been wounded in an attack. He therefore gave this photo the title, “The Survivor.”

Pain and Artistic Expression

The tiny feathered fighter gave me some comfort, and inspired me to search for artists who explore life with pain through their work. I know that if I had artistic talents I would construct visual representations of my experience.

So where are the artists out there who, with understanding of pain, are expressing their feelings and sharing their perspective? And where are the works of art, past and present, that can convey messages of hope and comfort to those that live with pain?

The first website I found is called PainExhibit.com. The artwork is displayed in nine different online galleries. Each gallery is based on a theme related to living with pain. The galleries take the viewer on a journey from the darkest expressions of suffering to themes of hope and transformation.

I like the gallery entitled, “But You Look So Normal” just because of the title! View this interesting image from Hester Stekelenberg in Amsterdam. Her work appeals to me because I began to see the body in new ways after experiencing chronic pain. Lying awake at night I would look at my hurting limbs and see not the outer layer of the body, but the inside, the bones and muscles and blood vessels. Somehow being in pain brings those images to my mind. Its not a bad feeling feeling. In fact, it makes me feel rather in awe of the human body, and of the different ways in which we can perceive our world.

Visible and Invisible Pain

Hester’s artwork, “reflection,” is intended to make the invisible illness appear visible. It is an interesting idea to think about for those of us whose illnesses are hidden, and also, I imagine, for those who live with clearly visible indications of illness. Both ways of living must have their own burdens and complications, and both can also be isolating. Go to my post on the the film Rolling to learn about a film that portrays the beauty of the survivor while depicting highly visible physical challenges. It inspires courage and compassion.

 

The beautiful Photo is by Steve-h, flickr.com