Surfacing, the exhibition
mission accomplished and conversations begun
I kept trying to find time to write an updated blog post but things kept happening that I had to attend to once the #exhibition was opened. The opening went very smoothly apart from the moment or two when my phone and the PA system were threatening not to talk to each other. If I had speech I would have just raised my voice to introduce my work, but when what I want to say has been pre-typed and stored into my text to speech app, some form of amplifier is required. Thankfully after a few false starts my brief introduction was unleashed.
“The one thought I did have was had I made the descriptions too personal? Would that make the work unsaleable given the nature of it and the link to my mental health?”
I didn't have doubts about my work prior to the exhibition, what I have produced over the last two years was what I felt. Whether people liked them or not was almost irrelevant to me. The one thought I did have was had I made the descriptions too personal? Would that make the work unsaleable given the nature of it and the link to to my #mentalhealth? About an hour into the event I got my answer, which was that actually the words were an essential element to the work, helping the #abstract to be understood. Another hour later and as sales began to be made, I was struck by the people making purchases if they could have the texts too, which of course they could.
I also extended an invitation to those present to touch the paintings, which seemed to really challenge some of those present. The texture and surface of mine is an integral part of the work, you can't experience that by looking at it. I want people to engage with my work fully, not view it passively. That's the equivalent of a doctor writing a prescription before an examination.
Perhaps the most relevant learning experience for me was that I realised on that day even though I no longer have the power of speech, I still have a voice. I can paint and I can write, they can be powerful tools with which to communicate with. In recent months I have asked friends to speak on my behalf at various events and gatherings. I won't be asking again. I am nothing if not adaptable, I have used my creativity to facilitate my recovery from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, there is no reason I can think of why I can't use my new found voice and a little bit of technical wizardry to keep me from a playing an active part in any conversation. Having spent five years trying to regain my independence, I am indeed surfacing, stronger and wiser than I could have imagined.
The exhibition is open daily runs until June 5th at The Exchange in North Shields