Saturday 26 March – Friday 13 May
This year Atopic Art project will be showcased in Edinburgh for the first time as part of Bio and Beyond visual art exhibition at Summerhall for the Edinburgh International Science Festival 2016. Alongside the exhibiton programme artists Josie Vallely and Trevor Gordon will also run creative drop-in workshops; Bedtime Balencing Act and Dermatological Distractors on the 1st of April. These are open to all ages and tickets are FREE (children must be accompanied by a adult).
Exhibitions are FREE
Open daily 10am – 6pm (during the Science Festival)
To book a place on the tour please RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday 31st March, Friday 8th April, Friday 22nd April, Friday 6th May
‘Atopic Art: Expressions of Eczema’ is a partnership project between ASCUS Art & Science, dermatologist Dr Sara Brown and charity Eczema Outreach Scotland. For this exhibition Trevor Gordon and Josie Vallely explore the personal stories and experiences of individuals ‘living with eczema’. Through their work the artists endeavour to address the personal impact of eczema, from building safe and dream filled spaces, to expressing imaginative representations that play with the tactile and textural manifestations of the condition.
Here the artists creatively incorporate into the final pieces, drawings and sculptures produced by children who suffer from eczema, that were produced during specially designed workshops. This is alongside new individual works inspired by the ideas that emerged from this process, combined with the artists own personal experiences living with the condition themselves. Together the works created by Trevor and Josie reflect and give insight into the emotional and social impact of eczema.
Inspired by the workshops over the course of the project Trevor produced a number of stand-alone, visually striking sculptures that are as far removed from a dull information board as can be imagined, but still communicate the key issues of eczema to the wider community.
As a child Trevor Gordon was prone to eczema and as a result understands well the discomfort and self consciousness it can provoke. He was often driven to distraction by a flare up and as a result for these workshops he wanted to express this moment in a more positive fashion by allowing the children to experience the immediacy of working with clay and plaster to produce small scale pieces of art. For the Atopic Art project he drew from this very personal experience coupled with his skills as a practising sculptor producing tactile and textural objects that portray the cycle of itching and scratching that anyone that suffers from the condition will be all to familiar with.
The work of the participants then went on to inform his later sculptural work and in some cases was included within the finished pieces themselves. It was his aim to make final pieces of work that express both the soothing nature of treatments used to alleviate symptoms and others that simulate the incessant itch of eczema. He has always likened the outbreaks on his arms to wearing a coarse woollen jersey next to bare skin. It is that urge to scratch and the relief yet damage done by doing so that is central. It is that split second moment that those with eczema will know only too well.
Josie Vallely’s work explores the use of drawing, abstraction and metaphor to facilitate dialogue about physical and mental health with the aim of moving beyond binaries of health and ill health, towards a discussion that encompasses an understanding of the individual lived experience. It is her hope that this in turn can contribute to combating the stigma that is attached to long-term conditions and disability. These visual expressions are always routed in narratives contributed by people with long term conditions. Her responses are not literal depictions; they are about creating atmosphere, and a space in which we can recognise similarities across our lived experiences.
During the Atopic Art project, Josie focussed on the emotional and social impact of eczema, rather than the scientific, or physical manifestations of the condition. Reflecting on her own personal experience of suffering from eczema – both as a child and now as an adult- she considered the day-to-day challenges of managing the condition. After reflecting and researching, she decided to focus her work around sleep disturbance. Getting enough sleep is a big problem for children with eczema and their families, as it has knock on effects in all areas of their lives- at school, in the relationships with friends, their ability concentrate and their energy levels.
The final works that have emerged from the Atopic Art workshops aim to encourage reflection on this aspect of the children’s lives, as well as creating a space for them to represent their dreams- their aspirations, fears, concerns and fantasies.