47% of Americans suffer from a chronic illness
the majority of these conditions are invisible
Without visual cues to validate their struggles to others, individuals with invisible chronic conditions often are met with doubt, minimal support from institutions, and a lack of empathy and understanding. It’s not surprising that many try to keep their conditions to themselves.
When these individuals do share the nature of their pain, even the best-intended comments seem to reinforce their invisibility. Compliments like ‘You don’t look sick at all’ only further point to the painful misconception that how one looks reflects how one feels.
Often the most effective way to describe pain is to relate it to another analogous experience. Saying what a person’s pain feels like allows for an abstract, internal reality to be linked to a more relatable, tangible experience.
It's hard for people to understand how bad it is when they can't see what's wrong.”
This project utilizes the power of the phrase ‘it feels like’ to further general public appreciation for the severity of invisible conditions and their accompanying pain through video art enactments.
The three initial video art pieces created for the project—which depict depression, cystic fibrosis, and obsessive compulsive disorder—are only glimpses into what it feels like to live with invisible pain. Yet, they seek to sow the seeds of understanding and to foster a desire to learn more.
it feels like videos on display
SNITE MUSEUM OF ART
April 7 - May 21, 2017 / South Bend, Indiana
Videos and accompanying installation on display for a thesis exhibition showing the final work of candidates for BFA and MFA degrees at the University of Notre Dame.
ROY G BIV GALLERY FOR EMERGING ARTISTS
May 11 - June 24. 2017 / Columbus, Ohio
Video on OCD officially selected for THIS IS NOW exhibition, exploring issues of identity in 2017.
In recent years, there are an expanding number of ways to identify with each other and ourselves. Sometimes this has a positive effect: people can draw power from declaring an identity, and use it to create a sense of solidarity and form strong communities; other times these identities divide people into warring tribes, or are imposed on one group by another as a form of aggression.
CZONG INSTITUTE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
June 2 - July 9. 2017 / Gimpo, Korea
Video on depression selected for Contemporary Landscapes, an exhibition showcasing international contemporary artists.
Learn more about the project
Contact the artist, Gabriela Leskur, for more information or to get involved with invisible illness awareness campaigns.