During my time with patients at Newcastle University we explored words that represent how they felt about Mitochondrial Disease. The list of words that they produced was very powerful and emotive. You can see some of the resulting work they produced during my engagement sessions with them here.
I wanted to find a way of presenting a selection of the words they came up with and I decided to use a technique that I used in a previous installation called ICARUS. The Icarus installation created a very emotive response to my work, and made me realise how powerful art installations can be, and that the power of an individual word can evoke a very personal response to the work I create.
It was important to find a way of engageing my audience in an emotive way. Science is seen by many as a logical, data driven discipline, and as I worked with scientists and patients it became apparent that for obvious reasons patients health and wellbeing had great emotional impacts upon the patients as individuals and within family groups. It was therefore no surprise that the scientists that were working with these patients could not help but have some sort of emotional connection to the patients and what they were experiencing.
You may be wondering why feathers would be my chosen canvas for these significant words. Well for me feathers represent so many things, and it is why they are a recurring material used within my work. For some they represent spirituality, a communion with another world. Some people believe that if you see a white feather then it is a message from your guardian angel, or a loved one that has passed away, to make you feel that you are watched over and protected. I think the white fetaher also symbolises freedom and flight, but I also love the concept of the quill an old fashioned writing tool made from a feather which is used to communicate. All of these concepts are flying around for me when I use feathers within within my work.