June 26, 2019

How can I convey my fear of physical and mental pain?

Caitlyn Bannatyne, 21

Struggling to come to terms with having a chronic illness which causes me intense pain has lead me to exploring ways that I can visually represent how I feel through art. Through my research I created a deep connection to the surrealist artist Frida Kahlo. I was amazed at how she was able to convey not only the deep pain she suffered from but also strength and dominance over the viewer. She openly reveals her vulnerability but tells the viewer; “don’t you dare pity me”.

I grew up understanding disability through members of my family but struggling with an invisible illness like Fibromyalgia has shown me how much more we as a society have to work on in terms of stereotypes we have about disability. We glorify disability and condemn it. We admire the “bravery” of those with disabilities living their lives but when we fail to reach a certain standard society calls them “lazy”, “scrounging” and “liars”. And because not all disabilities are visible, this attitude becomes harmful to the physical and emotional health of those with invisible illnesses and disabilities.

This piece was inspired by Frida Kahlo’s “The Broken Column”.

Fear of Living with Pain,
Digital Image