I’ve mentioned before I live in an art hub of Melbourne. I’ve also made it clear how much I love my community and how much the people living beside me have helped me manage my pain by energising me with their friendship, their creative work and some most distracting conversation.
These inspiring creatives (across all forms of art media), make me feel at ease, even as my painful-Soula-self. Whether in pain, feeling (or not) up to outings, when I appear leaning and sitting in all sorts of positions, and in some cases requiring their help to carry things home, or leave them behind for Theo to pick up later, I always feel accepted and loved, and that makes me so damn happy!
So, when one of those divine people, Marguerite Brown, reviews my book, I feel quite chuffed. In fact more than chuffed, honoured, that she spent her time to write a review in her own beautifully articulated words and publish it on her amazing blog, Visual Pursuits.
For anyone considering purchasing my book, or if you already have, I recommend Margue’s insight, it’s a brilliant review. Here’s a snippet:
In Art and Chronic Pain – A Self Portrait, artist Soula Mantalvanos shares her experience with chronic pain, which has been a debilitating presence in her life for almost seven years. Soula suffers from Pudendal Neuralgia, a painful nerve condition that developed following an accident where a fit ball that she was sitting on burst, causing her to drop violently to the concrete floor beneath.
Early on in the book Soula describes that split-second, and the devastating effects that followed. A highly active yoga-loving woman before the accident, throughout the book Soula gives a deeply personal account of the psychological, emotional and physical impacts of living with chronic pain for so many years. These negative effects were compounded by the fact that her condition Pudendal Neuralgia baffled her doctors, and took four and a half years to even diagnose.
Soula weaves her story through a spare yet effective use of text, combined with evocative imagery that gives visual form to one of the most insidious aspects of chronic pain, its complete invisibility to the outside world.
To convey the loss of control over her physical being that has been presented by Pudendal Neuralgia, the artist commissioned a marionette in her own likeness by marionette maker Colleen Burke. The result is an exquisitely crafted and hauntingly realistic version of herself in doll-like form. Soula paints, draws and collages representations of the marionette at various points throughout the book.