I am a Textile and Mixed Media Artist living in a small town just north of Bristol. I am profoundly deaf and have struggled with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue since 2009. Both are invisible conditions, so while I look fine on the outside, I am struggling on the inside.
I’m not the only person struggling with invisible illness and disability, in fact it is estimated that 13.3 million people in the UK have a disability or chronic illness and of these, 96% have invisible conditions. If someone uses a wheelchair, or has something that makes their condition visible, it can be easier to understand the difficulties they might face and to support them. For those with invisible conditions, such as deafness, depression, chronic pain, M.E., epilepsy or arthritis, it’s often a different story. Because the challenges and the symptoms are invisible, those who don’t know or understand the challenges being experienced and find it hard to comprehend or believe someone with a “hidden” impairment genuinely needs help. This lack of understanding leads to many people keeping quiet about their disability and this also leads to loneliness and isolation.
My work has been informed by my own experiences of invisible disability and illness. Exploring the differences in these experiences with others, I’ve been keen to reveal the emotions behind the facade and this has led me to develop an interest in layers, the depth that can be created and the shadows that can be formed. And although the subject matter might alter, the layers remain.