MANDEM is raising international awareness for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) with their painting series Hypermobility. The show is exhibiting May 9-14 at Cotton On in Morecambe, England, with an artist reception on May 14 at 6:00pm.
The genetic disorder Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) causes failure of connective tissue leading to hypermobility, musculoskeletal disorders, and a range of disabling complications including vascular and neurological symptoms. The Hypermobility art exhibition re-centers that disability as a form of beauty via MANDEM’s signature approach to the classical realist tradition of figure painting.
Using EDS-diagnosed studio models, the series captures moments where joints hyperextend or dislocate and the body moves into broken-seeming, impossible configurations. MANDEM’s oil paintings explode the line between medical documentation and fine art, questioning the way that society looks at disabled bodies. While Hypermobility portrays a painful and debilitating condition, these are not grotesque images. Using techniques passed down from the Old Masters, these paintings depict luminous and elegant figures.
“People with chronic illnesses and disabilities don’t see themselves represented in fine art, and are even less often allowed to determine their own self-representation.” MANDEM explained. “We’ve been contacted by people with EDS, from all over the world, who have been moved by these paintings.”
Morecambe city counsellor Claire Colzer said, “We are so lucky to have an exhibition of this calibre in Morecambe,” describing MANDEM’s work as “truly amazing, luminous, fantastic paintings.”
The show’s organizer, Kerry Ollerenshaw, also has EDS. “The paintings are amazing. They are painted with understanding and compassion.”
Cotton On, a locally owned arts and crafts education center, has a mission to use enterprise for social good. Ollerenshaw explains, “for me, creating is central to my well-being, especially after a day of severe pain and multiple dislocations. I also see the benefit of art in the students who craft in my studio.”
“We are so pleased to find a local artist space already engaged in creating dialog about disability and art, and we’ve enjoyed partnering with Kerry to share this series in the UK,” MANDEM said.
During the month of May, which is international Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome awareness month, the Hypermobility exhibit is exhibiting in Italy, England, and the United States.
More information is available at http://MANDEMart.com/hypermobility.
Cotton On is located at 296 Marine Road Central, Morecambe.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - (Story originally published by FSU College of Fine Arts News.) VIDEO FOOTAGE FROM MANDEM’S “HYPERMOBILITY” EXHIBIT AT IL PALMERINO IN FLORENCE, ITALY. - - - - - - - - - - - - -