One of the biggest problems we all face in raising awareness of IBD is that it’s so difficult to explain. Everything from our ulcerated colon to our overwhelming level of fatigue is invisible which forces us to attempt to put it into words rather than truly paint a picture about what life with IBD Is really like.
How often have you wished you could whip out a picture of your last colonoscopy when questioned about your ‘touchy tummy’ or draw your very inflamed colon after someone asks if you’ve tried an Aloe Vera cleanse?
If you’re anything like me, then chances are it’s daily. That’s why when I came across this art exhibition I had to take the time to share it.
A photographer living in the United Kingdom is attempting to help change the way we see IBD.
Rather than speaking out about living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, she’s attempted to turn it into an art exhibition. ‘A Gut Feeling’ has already exhibited in Nottingham, UK and it’s now arriving in the capital city too.
Jeane Trend-Hill, who has Ulcerative Colitis and takes 23 tablets a day, has been living with IBD for over five years. At first, the disease impacted her so severely that she was housebound and had to use a wheelchair. When diagnosed, Jeane was just 5 stone, with strangers assuming she was anorexic or on drugs. Eventually, she stabilised and although she still has flare-ups, she argues:
‘If I waited for a day when I felt well enough, I’d never get anything done.’
A sentiment we all recognise I’m sure!
Unable to continue her career as an actress, Jeane instead turned to sketching and photography. This lead to her creating an exhibition as a way of trying to communicate the pain she has been through whilst living with IBD. When asked about her reasons, Jeane explained: “It’s not always easy for people to understand what it’s like to have an inflammatory bowel disease and endure domestic violence (which sadly, Jeane experienced from her husband post-diagnosis); creating an art piece helps to show them.”
It’s previously been on display in Nottingham and will exhibit in London on the 9th of December. Jeanne’s artwork represents the many layers of struggle we recognise, from physical symptoms to relationships break down. She explains the meaning behind her work: “The nest represents my bed-comfort from the pain and chronic fatigue. The pills and drips allow me to thrive. The discarded rings allude to the break up of my marriage; my husband no longer wanted to me when I became ill. A torn business card a symbol of my career on hold. My intestines are inflamed and feel knotted.”
If you’re based in the United Kingdom like me, this is an exhibition you won’t want to miss. But if not, why not share Jeane’s artwork and story with a friend or family member, to try and help communicate what our daily struggle with Inflammatory Bowel disease really looks like.
You can view ‘A Gut Feeling’ and meet Jeane at the Art Cafe London, below L’Ulivo Restaurant. 14-15 Irving Street, Leicester Square. The exhibition will take place on Saturday, December 9th between 11-3pm