Ciara Champman’s artwork is a response to her own experience with chronic pain.

Large scale Leeside art explores chronic pain

Artist Ciara Chapman’s works, themed ‘Chronic Pain is NOT make-believe’, will be seen in the windows of Cork Opera House from 5-30 September, which is Pain Awareness Month.

The artwork is a response to her own experience with chronic pain and has been recognised by the Institute of Designers in Ireland, the World Illustration Awards in 2020 and the London International Creative Competition.

The characters in the artwork have been created to attract and communicate with adults and children alike, helping people from a young age to learn about chronic pain.

Ciara will also be giving a free artist talk from 6-7pm on 23 September at Cork Opera House as part of Culture Night 2022.

Commenting on her latest project, Ciara said that as an artist with a disability, it is hugely exciting for her to have the opportunity to add to the incredible street art in Cork city.

“Chronic pain, whether that’s mental, physical, or emotional pain, is often invisible, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real,” said Ciara.

She continued: “It couldn’t be more real to the person experiencing the pain. But all too common scepticism means that there’s a stigma for people like me who experience chronic pain, with implications and suspicions that we are inventing the pain we feel.

“At our most vulnerable point, our integrity is questioned. As I’ve titled one of the artworks which will be on display on the Opera House, ‘If only you could feel what I feel – just for a moment.’”

Ciara began creating artwork about chronic pain in 2016, as the result of an accident which changed her life. She turned to art when she realised that the pain from the accident was beginning to change her “in the worst way”.

She said: “Typically, art that explores pain tends to be graphic and a lot of the time gruesome. I decided to take my work in a different direction. I use bright colours and delicate lines to balance out the weighty themes. It’s not all doom and gloom.”

Ciara’s art will feature on the north-facing windows of Cork Opera House and will be accompanied by a QR code linked to a SoundCloud document describing the image and the thinking and experiences behind it.

Also commenting was Cork Opera House CEO, Eibhlín Gleeson, who said the window display is sure to be a valuable conversation starter during Pain Awareness Month.

She added:“It has been our pleasure to work with Ciara to create a platform for engagement and we look forward to a hosting her talk on Culture Night in September.”

Ciara’s talk on Culture Night is free to attend and will also be available to watch on Instagram channel @ciarachapmanillustration for those unable to physically attend the event at the Opera House.

The project is funded by the Arts Council’s Arts and Disability Connect Scheme managed by Arts & Disability Ireland.