Sometimes words are not enough to tell a story. My journey through cancer since November 2016, following life-changing pilgrimage , has needed me to develop a personal iconography to make sense of it all. I wait to find out if I am operable once more. Chemo continues. Without formal religion, producing art has become my ritual, filling my days and my mind, teaching me a whole new Way of living my life. Strangers as well as friends tell me that I have found, in the production of over 100 pictures, a language which speaks to others' search for wellbeing. Each comes with its own story.
Though it is not why I began, I am pressed to exhibit my work to a range of audiences so that others can benefit - on their Way through life's nasty and fantastic surprises. The funds I am seeking are for the framing, publicity and other costs of having a travelling multi-media exhibition. I have been on sick pay for a year and am my family's breadwinner and guarantor for my daughter's university costs. I cannot do this without your help.
I have committed exhibition venues, PR support etc, a group of friends committed to organising it for me. If through your contribution I am succesful in exhibiting, and if my pictures sell, I will put any surplus to going on my Way ... returning, one more time, to the Camino , the ancient pilgrimage across Spain, the golden road that runs through most of my pictures. I will also use the exhibitions to support local social enterprises and entrepeneurs, as venues etc.
The exceptionally detailed and richly coloured pictures in many media have spoken back to me, changing my mood- often from intense fear to elation. I have found beauty in ugliness, a warrior spirit, renewed feminism, a new empathy with others and a sense of humour amongst the medical talk. They have bubbled up in a steady stream set off by a thought, emotion, phrase, broadcast or piece of literature. Counting my way through 12 cycles of chemotherapy so far, I have wandered on - approaching my 60th birthday, helping my daughter's rites of passage, being with my husband 24 hours a day, seeing my mother approach her 90th birthday, being awed by world events.
On the journey, I have revisited studies of art & culture from 4 decades ago and researched the ways that many peoples use art to express their stories - whether in Islam, Hinduism, Celtic mythology and European fairytale, abstract expressionism, Japanese woodcut, Aborigine and Mexican indigenous creativity, Renaissance Christianity. I have used many media including the random gifts of friends and materials from my NE fishing village home.
If you are able to contribute then I will be pleased to invite you to the exhibition(s) which start on 1st March 2018 at ACT Aberdeen. You can be a more active part of the exhibition by voting for the 10 pictures you like most. Go to https://www.facebook.com/Way-1737076156607220/ look in the Timeline photos, choose which 10 you like best and type your name followed by "Chooses" in the comments. These public votes will be put before the selection panel who will choose the pictures for the gallery walls. The remaining pictures will be displayed digitally and in other formats. You can also buy original pictures which start at £100. A catalogue is available.
- Val Holroyd
- Sandra Howard
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