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Aletta de Wal
Artist Advisor & Art Marketing Strategist

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Fabienne Bismuth
3-D Artist

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Huguette May
2-D Artist

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Aletta de Wal
Fabienne Bismuth
Huguette May

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Wednesday
Feb252015

Sick, Tired and Fed Up

Online Gallery Show for Artists With Chronic Illnesses.
Deadline for submissions: March 31, 2015 

Estimated Reading Time: About 3 minutes

At first I was reluctant to share my story about my health crisis related to Neuro Systemic Lupus. I thought that people might think I was not up to the work I do.

But when artists shared a story about challenges they faced, I discovered that telling them about mine became a bond that built trust and brought us closer. 

I’ve also been writing more about artists challenged by illnesses, economic or life circumstances.

The result is more stories coming in from artists to join this conversation. 

You are not alone.

Past client Gwen Duda was one of those artists. 

I just started an online gallery that is specifically for artists with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Gulf War Syndrome.

Why?

-  Twenty-five years of having Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome myself 
-  Hearing about others also not getting proper treatment for their illness
-  Lack of respect from the general public and the medical community

Over the last nine years, I’ve had doctor after doctor insinuate I was lazy, a malingerer, treated with disdain and sometimes outright contempt. I had had enough!

I decided to further the cause of education and to turn the tide of ignorance, which might then result in better treatment for those who are afflicted.

I sponsored a Kickstarter campaign developed by a young woman, Jen Brea, who came down with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. She is doing a documentary titled "Canary in a Coalmine" and was just asked to attend the Sundance Film Festival. The film is set to release in 2016 and it's already getting nods of affirmation from the film industry.

I was in contact with her through social media and she encouraged me to develop a place where artists with the aforementioned illnesses could have their artwork for viewing in an online art community. 

I am currently coming back from a big health dip caused by my illness, but after MUCH deliberation I decided to go ahead with it. This is the result. www.meagain.org.

This web site is designed with these aims:

  1. An online showcase for those who have these illnesses to tell their stories their way  and to show the artwork that is the result of their experiences with their illnesses;
     
  2. An educational conduit designed to inform for the general public and the medical community  and/or change the negative and erroneous stigma that these illnesses currently have attached to them;
     
  3. To bring forth more funding for research and the respect and better treatment for patients.

So Aletta, a couple of things that you have said in your newsletters also played a part in moving me forward on this.

One primarily -  in asking the question, how one, as an artist, can play a part in the larger community, in social issues for example, and use their art to do so.

My training as both an advertising and fine artist might appear to produce conflicting skill sets. Instead both were very important to constructing this website.

My personal experience of chronic illness as a very misunderstood and stigmatized condition was also core.

I know it's your job, but I know that you really do care about helping artists make a good living from their work. Thank you for the encouragement! Hope this message finds you in good health and lots of love and joy in your life!

All the best to you Aletta, 
Gratefully and Appreciatively Yours,
Gwen Duda
creator/curator 
www.meagain.org

P.S. We have an international call for artist submissions for an online juried artist's showcase that will be unveiled on May 12th, 2015 to concur with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day. Selected artists will each have their own page with their art, artist information and experience of and with chronic illness.

Through these artist's works and stories I hope that that people will become more informed and recognize that these illnesses:
- can hit anyone at any time, anywhere.
- affect children all the way up to the elderly but usually hits those in the prime of their lives -  20's and early 30's.

These illnesses have wide ranges of affects including, but not limited to; extreme and disabling exhaustion that is similar to what a person with cancer would experience going through chemotherapy, wide-spread pain, vertigo, chronic insomnia, allergic reactions, hormonal disruptions, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, cognitive disruptions, heart malfunctions, muscle pain and malfunction, immune system dysfunction, etc. It's a dysfunction of the central nervous system, the hormonal system, and other body regulatory systems.

This artist showcase will then remain up from May 12th, 2015 to May 12th, 2016.

Deadline for submissions: March 31, 2015 
Cost: $20 (USD) per submission (one to three images).
Please enter your art at http://www.meagain.org/artist-submissions.html 

I understand the challenges of many kinds that we face as artists and members of the human race. Let me know how I can help you get your art and life going in the direction you want to go at your pace. The first 15 minutes is on me.

If you’ve never entered competitions, here are a few articles I’ve written:

The Ins and Outs of Juried Shows

Juried Shows: Three Good Reasons to Enter 

Juried Shows: Enter the S.M.A.R.T. Way 

Juried Shows: A Juror's Inside Story 

The Backstory of a Juror's Inside Story

Let me know how I can help you make a decision to enter. The first 15 minutes is on me. 

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