Art of Woman

Life with Endometriosis



Endometriosis? What is THAT!!

Watch a YouTube video invitation to joint me and become part of “Life with Endometriosis”:
'Life with Endometriosis' invitation by Margaret Kalms (YouTube)

Life with Endometriosis - invitation YouTube by Margaret Kalms

Endometriosis is a debilitating and painful women’s reproductive disease. It is surprisingly common. It affects 10 - 15% of menstruating women. This rate is similar to women with breast cancer. While many people have heard about breast cancer, few have heard about endometriosis, even fewer understand the impact of endometriosis on women's lives.

There is still prejudice in talking about pelvic pain. Many people believe that menstrual pain is somehow normal! This results in delays in diagnosis that can extend pain and suffering unnecessarily. I decided to use my art, my photographic skills to challenge these ideas and prejudices, and to raise awareness of this insidious disease.

I’m dedicating an exhibition and an accompanying art book to this cause. "Life with Endometriosis", I call it. I imagine a gallery filled with art - several photos about each story from a dozen or so women and possibly including art created by some of the women. The accompanying book will be a lasting record of “Life with Endometriosis”.

Since August 2014, I have been meeting with women who live with endometriosis and have made recordings of their experiences. Progress with photography has been slower than I hoped because of delays and postponements due to ill health - which is all part of the endometriosis story. I am committed to this project. This will be a journey over many months, maybe years, as we visually explore the impacts of endometriosis on women’s lives.

I’m excited about the visual and photographic challenges this project will bring. It is a privilege to learn about other women’s lives and tell their stories.

Contact me: lifewithendo@artofwoman.com.au

Follow and Like - Facebook.com/lifewithendometriosis

Touch - the best art installation you will never see!

Touch is an intimate sense we largely ignore in public. It can be dangerous to touch because of the risk being misunderstood. Watch a crowd in public and you’ll see that we very carefully avoid each other.

It is pushing boundaries to have an art exhibition that relays on touch - we may bump into another person unexpectedly, or trip and hurt ourselves, or break something. Welcome to the world of vision impaired people who have to deal with these issues every day!

On Wednesday evening, 2 July, I was invited by my friend, Leonie Pye, to the opening of Touch - an installation exhibition held at the Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre, Canberra. Touch is an initiative of Canberra Blind Society and Tuggeranong Arts Centre as part of Community Cultural Inclusion Project (CCIP) and facilitated by artist Tony Steel.

After the formalities of speeches and the usual mingling with friends, we were allotted into groups to go into the installation. What an exciting experience! We had to take our shoes off and put on hospital ‘booties’! We placed our belongings on a shelf (which was watched by a staff member), then we were blindfolded! Each group is allocated guides to aid us as we go through the installation. To find our way around, there is a rope on the floor that we feel with our feet. Each artwork is marked by a piece of carpet which we can feel with our feet, so we know to put out our hands to feel for the artwork.

It is quite disorienting to be blindfolded in a public place and to try to touch things. Experiencing the art by touch is new to me. So many galleries and exhibitions explicitly state ‘Do not touch’.

There were artworks on the walls, on the floor and suspended from the ceiling. Sometimes I walked into the art; slats of wood, strings of beads and pieces of textured cloth draped over me as I moved through the exhibit. Other times I had to reach out to touch the artworks or my feet crunched on autumn leaves, or sand or pebbles.

In my lack of experience with this type of ’seeing’, I found it hard to understand the ’story’ behind some of the pieces. Leonie’s artwork was an exception. She had a shell shape with a sand texture and a shell sculpture inside. When I put my head inside, I heard the sound of the ocean and I listened to Leonie reading from her children’s story, “The Little Shell”, complete with a blessing at the end. It was a beautiful immersive experience.

A little further on, I felt a shoe. Logically, as my hand traced over it, there was a foot inside and slacks. Further up there was a knee. At that point I wondered, “How far do I put my hand?” Do I reach up further? “Is this a man or a woman?” Then laughed to myself, I don’t really want to know! Although it was not a real person it was funny.

The exhibition had an amazing range of textures, shapes and contrasts including: soft and hard, hot and cold, wet and dry, stable and moveable. I could have explored for longer, but time didn’t permit. I’ll go again with another friend. The exhibition is on until 12 July 2014.

Leonie Pye and friends going into Touch exhibition_9914 sm

Last days of "Eye of The Beholder"

Leonie Pye opened the Eye of The Beholder exhibition of Belconnen Artists Network, at Belconnen Community Centre Gallery on 26 March 2014. Some people commented that it is an irony that a blind woman would open a visual arts exhibition. Artistic expression is a way of beholding that goes way beyond the visual and includes experience, emotions and ideas. Eye of The Beholder exhibition showcases many different viewpoints and ways of beholding highlight some of the diversity of human expression such as;

  • A portrait of Leonie Pye’s experience of beholding from her guide dog’s point of view, negotiating the hazards of life,
  • Viewing Lake Eyre from a bird’s eye view,
  • the camera becoming the beholden,
  • the repeating images from the eye of a bee,
  • owl’s eyes delicately drawn yet piercing,
  • a multi-facetted sunset to sooth the soul,
  • an modernist geometric reminiscent of Escher,
  • questioning the stereotype of artist and model.

The artists represented in this exhibition have a wide range of skills including photography, sculpture, painting, drawing and textiles. They have exhibited in Canberra, interstate and internationally.

Go and see the exhibition quickly, it closes on Friday, 4 April.

Margaret looking into Richards eye_8489 sm

Looking into a glass orb created by Richard Lamond. Inside the iris are many facets of mirror so when I looked in, I saw dozens of eyes flashing back at me. Looking inside to look at myself! Stunning.