My Idea

For my Final Major Project I will be exploring the identity behind disease and disability and discovering if someone’s ‘true’ self can be altered by it.

I am interested in how it can be seen as a stigma to talk about such personal subjects, but I want to present these diseases and disabilities as something to be proud of.

I have been in contact with the Depression Alliance, The Teenage Cancer Trust and local Blind support groups.

Through this project I aim to discover if ‘true’ identity can be captured in a portrait, or if in fact a portrait is just an empty, physical representation.

By meeting, interviewing and photographing a series of people effected by disease or disorder, I aim to unmask their ‘inner significance’ and intend to show more of them than the disease or disability they have.

I would like this series of portraits to be painted on a large scale to elevate the status of the sitters. Perhaps presenting their disorders as assets to their personality.

I hope that I will be able to capture something of the very essence of the people I meet and paint. Greyson Perry describes portrait artists as ‘part phycologist, part detective’, this is the attitude I will approach this project with.

I am most interested in the discussions I have had with a nurse that supports a care home for people who are blind. I would like to discover how these people ‘see’ themselves. I found my self wandering;

What is identity is to someone who can not see?

In this day, we are constantly bombarded with images of ‘physical perfection’. How do people who can not see perceive beauty and identity?

I believe that someones true identity is much more than skin deep. I will be doing my project in collaboration with support groups and charities in order to research the technical and medical side of disease and disability, and meet a range of people on a personal level.

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