Pain and Art

Every working day I listen to people talk about their pain, what it means to them and how it affects their lives. Together we seek to make sense of their experiences and develop ways of moving forwards on the basis that we are fundamentally designed to change and adapt. Classically, words such as sharp, dull, piercing, shooting and achy are used to describe the feelings. I encourage further exploration of descriptions, however unusual they may sound, so that the fullest expression is permitted. Of course verbal language is but one way of communicating. I observe expressions of the face, posturing, hand movements and other often unconscious ways in which the pain experience is imparted.

Art in its many forms has been a common way of depicting pain and suffering. Some artists privately and some publicly display their work, most likely as a form of release to express the very essence of their sensory and emotional experience. Even to someone without persisting pain these pictures can be evocative and disturbing, but nonetheless giving some insight into the dark and lonely depths of suffering. Perhaps to share this most personal and integral work is to share the pain. Only the artist knows.

The Pain Exhibit website showcases the artistic work of chronic pain sufferers. The site provides an outlet, or a ‘voice’ as they describe it, so that pain can be communicated to a wide audience and allow people to develop a deeper understanding. With each piece the artist briefly describes his or her experience.

Click here for the main website

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