Art heals. Or at least it reframes the narrative, takes back control of the conversation to some degree, makes it our own. The idea of controlling our own experience with chronic illness continues to intrigue and pull at me. I think art may be one of the best answers to not feeling like a victim here.
Case in point, a recent show at the Augen gallery in Portland, by artist Jim Riswold, called art for oncologists. Though the work itself isn't necessarily the type I'm normally drawn to, the collective pieces come together to tell a compelling and moving story. One persons' harrowing journey with disease . One very smart and articulate persons' journey, I might add. It gave me courage to see the courage it took for this one, singular artist to make this work. So brave and raw and clinical and intellectual and utterly stripped down, all at the same time. So angry and cynical. So poignant and frail. This is one very pissed off and humbling narrative. I really related to the underlying rage and panic of this show.
I'm still thinking about the talk and the accompanying written explanations of the work. I'm still grateful for it's fierceness and honesty. I'm grateful for it's exploration of medicine and disease and of being a patient. I'm still grateful for the creation of a public place for open discussion about disease. It felt familiar and known and somehow I felt more at home there than I've felt in years. And for that, I'm more grateful than I would have ever guessed!
Again, I'm convinced that art is the answer. Or at least one of the answers to deal with life with disease.