Jump to content

My Chronic Pain Diary by Ciara Chapman

My Chronic Pain Diary by Ciara Chapman

1 - 30 Sep 2021, 12:00 am - 12:00 am (Past)


This September award-winning artist Ciara Chapman is presenting three new elements to her project My Chronic Pain Diary: an accessible art trail of her illustrations in shop windows throughout Cork city; an exhibition of her work at Cork Printmakers Gallery, and a new book of her artwork.

Ciara’s illustrations in her My Chronic Pain Diary project are a response to her experience with chronic pain and include amongst their inspirations the tale of Alice in Wonderland.  September is Pain Awareness Month, during which Ciara’s artwork will be highlighting and communicating related issues drawing from her own experience.

Cork Printmakers Courtyard will host the launch of the entire project – book, exhibition, and art trail – on Sunday, 5th September, from 11am to 1pm.  The launch is supported by Cork Printmakers, Backwater Artists Group, and the Lavit Gallery through the Arts Council of Ireland’s In The Open – Faoin Spéir award: A curated programme of multi-disciplinary, inclusive arts activities in community outdoor spaces running from July 2021-April 2022.

All three interlinked projects are supported by the Arts Council’s Arts and Disability Connect scheme,  managed by Arts & Disability Ireland.

About My Chronic Pain Diary

Ciara says of My Chronic Pain Diary project, which has been recognised by the Institute of Designers in Ireland, the World Illustration Awards in 2020 and the London International Creative Competition, “I started this diary of illustrations in 2016, as the result of an accident which changed everything. The pain resulting from the accident was beginning to change me in the worst way, so I turned to art to save me. I clawed my way out of the darkness that had become my life and created My Chronic Pain Diary. The illustrations I created for the Diary chronicled my journey through chronic pain.

“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. I tackle themes such as isolation, guilt, shame and depression. It’s not all doom and gloom, I also explore the light that comes out of pain, for instance the insight I’ve gained, the self-awareness, the support, and the love I have experienced. I have poured so much of myself into this project and have received a lot in return.

“When it comes to the look and feel of this diary, I have wanted to give the viewer a sense of Alice in Wonderland. Alice fell through the rabbit hole and so did I. I’m really proud of myself for creating light from so much prolonged pain. The truth that comes from my diary illustrations is what resonates with the viewer and I’m ready to share it with a wider audience.”

About The Art Book

September will see the publication of an illustrated printed art book featuring 100 of the illustrations from My Chronic Pain Diary, with an initial run of 100 copies. The book draws on Ciara’s skills of drawing and illustration; design, and working in print, and explores topics including Ciara’s medical experiences, the insights she’s gathered, her nightmares and her dreams.

About The Exhibition

Cork Printmakers Gallery on Wandesford Quay, Cork will be home to an exhibition of digital prints of illustrations from the My Chronic Pain Diary book, during the month of September, coinciding with the gallery’s 30th Anniversary.

About The Art Trail

During September, shop windows throughout Cork city will be home to an art trail of Ciara’s work. The windows will be decorated and filled with illustrations from My Chronic Pain Diary, embroidered artworks and origami characters with colourful fabrics and lighting, along with video pieces of short animations of some of the illustrations.

Making her artwork accessible is a top priority for Ciara, and these public displays in shop windows reflect that as no stairs are involved, the work can be seen by people travelling past by whatever means, and they can be viewed from outdoors reflecting social distancing concerns. In addition, each window will feature a QR Code and URL which can be scanned with a smart phone. This will lead to a Sound Cloud audio description for each display, which describes in detail what the work looks like and what it is about, helping to engage audiences in a deeper way. By offering a digital platform to view the work, with detailed audio, text and images of each display, the intention is to also make the work accessible to people from their own homes who may not be able to visit Cork, and to make the work accessible to people who may have visual impairments or other restrictions limiting their access to view the work.

‘Follow the white rabbit’ themed billboards, decorated by bunny decals and wooden cut outs of rabbits, funded by Cork Chamber, and sponsored by Notes to Cork, will be sited in 6 locations around the city, to share information with the public about the Art Trail and the project launch.

Art Trail Tours

During September there will be 4 official tours of the Art Trail, with a chance to meet the artist Ciara Chapman at the Cork Printmakers Courtyard and from there be guided around the Art Trail on a walking tour by project manager Aoife Claffey. Tickets for these tours can be reserved at: www.mychronicpaindiary.com

Tours will take place:

Launch Day Sunday 5th September
11.30am – 12.00 noon Short tour
12.00noon – 1.00pm Full tour

Culture Night Friday 17th September
5.00pm – 5.30pm Short tour
6.00pm – 7.00pm Full tour

Art Trail Map as part of My Chronic Pain Diary by Ciara Chapman

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.

Embroidery piece from My Chronic Pain Diary by Ciara Chapman


Arts and Disability Connect
Culture Night
Meet an Artist
New Work Award
Pain Awareness Month