Fighting pain with art

By StoryPhotos
Photos By StoryPhotos

New life: A unique representation by Chally Lim called the ‘Butterfly’. Butterflies often denote transformation or change from its birth as a worm to a winged angel.

THEY say that an artwork is an expression of feelings in different mediums, and for a group of women affected by endometriosis, this is especially true.

A group of endometriosis patients, their families and friends recently put together an art exhibition.

Endometriosis is a common disease affecting one in 10 women during their reproductive years. The lining of the uterus in endometriosis sufferers finds its way to other parts of their body, where the tissue reacts and grows with the hormones throughout the menstrual cycle causing inflammation and the formation of scar tissue.

The pain for many is excruciating and affects their daily lives, including their ability to conceive.

Organised by the Endometriosis Association of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (MyEndosis) at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), the exhibition sought to educate the public on endometriosis through a unique platform.

MyEndosis president Surita Mogan said the exhibition painted a clearer picture of what women go through.

“This exhibition showcases the suffering the patients, their friends and family go through and is our way to express support for the people we know with the disease,” she said.

Surita said this during the soft launch of the art exhibition that was officiated by Malaysian Health Promotion Board (MySihat) board member Datuk Ng Fook Heng.

In his speech, Ng pledged on behalf of MySihat to assist MyEndosis in an endeavour to help raise awareness of the disease.

“Go to the schools and universities and target the young ones. It is best to raise awareness among these groups,” he said.

He also commended Utar and its lecturers for providing the unique platform to educate their students and the general public.

The art exhibition saw a large number or art pieces of different mediums displayed. Some expressed their feelings through oil and acrylic paint while others chose posters and sculptures.

During the event three budding artists who contributed to the exhibition, including a shy 11-year-old, shared their thoughts on their pieces.

Harishni Sureson, Surita’s daughter, said she has seen her mother suffering from endometriosis and prayed that God gives her courage and strength to help her mother.

Singaporean artist Joyce Dolores Montero-Tupaz found friends and sisters through the MyEndosis Facebook page.

Montero-Tupaz presented five different drawings that are a reflection of not only the pain and emotions but also the psychological effects of the disease.

Her favourite is called “I have Thorns Like Any Rose”, a painting with a face hidden by a large red rose with thorns.

Another of her paintings called “Behind the Beauty” depicting a sorrowful face hidden behind several vibrant coloured hibiscus flowers.

“Most of us who suffer from endometriosis put up a facade. Sometimes we don’t talk about the pain or we say we’re fine or some make up other excuses when we can’t go out because we hide our illness,” she said.

Montero-Tupaz feels that behind their normal looking exterior, their insides are actually pretty damaged.

Zachary Roland Anthony, a lecturer at Utar, has seen friends suffering from the same medical condition.

He said he was moved by endometriosis because not many people are aware of the problem and that needs to be changed.

His three paintings, “Let the Message Burn”, “The Endo Emo” and “This Vase”, were completed in seven hours.

He said Let the message burn was the last to be created and took some time to conceptualise.

However, when it hit him, it was a rapid flow of thoughts that he immediately transferred on to the canvas.

The painting shows a circular form that can be seen as the womb holding a group of people who believe in spreading the word of endometriosis. The womb is on fire depicting the urgency of spreading the news to the world.

For now the MyEndosis team is looking for places to exhibit the paintings on a roadshow to help spread awareness on the subject.

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