Portraits: Patients and Psychiatrists

Wellcome Trust Arts Award 2009

Archive for January 2010

Patient S

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Dr S has treated Patient S over several years – and now only sees him a few times a year, just for follow -up. He now has a long-term job.

Patient S came to my house on a saturday before christmas. He was extremely polite and cooperative, we had a cup of tea and talked for quite a while before the drawing.He told me about his family history, how his parents and grandparents had lived in India and Kenya and about his family in London now. We talked about his experience as a psychiatric patient and he told me how Dr S had helped him to get better. I could tell that he genuinely liked and respected Dr S, he told me “I couldn’t see tomorrow, but the Doctors have made me”.

We discussed how we could create a visual narrative to represent his story and I asked if I could draw some of his personal objects. We met a week later and he gave me a brief case with a curious collection inside.

In his words he describes the collection of objects …..

“The story of money i have told you but the notes are as follows…………. the £10-00 is a throw back to the past………….. the 10 shillings my mother and father’s roots to where they were born and when i visited in 1987…………… the one rupee now out of circulation is from my decent……………… both Indian and in part Pakistani……… (Pakistan not there when my Grandparents moved around partition), but who play a big role in my working life nowdays.

The paper weights from my time working in crystal and china and the three were part of a set thought at that time cutting edge, the 26 quarters all similar representing the American dream but different either in design, wear or appearance…………. something i looked at being very different in my way.

The cards and the Vegas memorabilia, well life as i looked at it at one point is a gamble in a playground of chance with every persons hand different………….. and where better to try your luck in the biggest most brightest playground that there is! Lost quite a bit of money on that trip.

The Morris Minor…………….. my trade as the old folk would call it is that of a mechanic, and whilst learning my trade before going into Universities later in life was working on various cars in a garage, my first project was my first car that was off the road……….. in the garage in a very unassuming way sat this Morris Minor too off the road, the conscious decision that was made at that point was either working on a car mechanically or aesthetically (ie panel beating, spraying etc………..) i chose mechanically and so my first car did not have any bodywork done to it but made mechanically sound.”

I drew these elements together to form the portrait, allowing coins to become planets, paperweights to become pyramids and a mobile phone to become an egyptian mummy. This all made sense when I thought about the symbolic (and formal) links between the objects and the patient.

Written by gemmaanderson

19/01/2010 at 9:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized