Date of Submission

Fall 2018

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Studio Arts

Project Advisor 1

Fujita Kenji

Abstract/Artist's Statement


If I knew how to explain vision loss or chronic pain, I wouldn’t have started this senior project.

How do I communicate the knowledge that my body is slowly failing me, that even the best treatments aren’t guaranteed to work? With whom do I have to speak with to be heard and understood? I’ve previously attempted dictionary definitions, disability accommodation letters from the Bard Learning Commons, repeatedly cancelling plans with friends until they stop inviting me to things, and passive-aggressive conversations with my neurologist. None of these efforts have worked out so far as effective means of communication, but neither has wordless screaming, so I feel compelled to keep trying.

The project is composed of eight pairs of one poem and one visual element - paintings, drawings, or ceramic sculpture. Each pair of works looks at chronic illness (mine, specifically) as experienced – or not experienced – through a different human organ or organ system. I don’t think I could literally vivisect myself and survive the process. This body of work is my earnest attempt at doing the next best thing.

I wrote the first poem for the project on February 28, 2017. The title, “Self-Caregiver Fatigue” refers to the current trendiness of “self-care” as an industry as well as the sense of burnout or even resentment that can develop in a healthy adult caring for their sick relative. The relative can be a drain on financial and emotional resources as well as often being unhappy and ungrateful regardless of the quality of the care they receive; in a lot of ways it would be weirder if caregiver fatigue wasn’t a common occurrence.

In Studio 16 of Bard UBS, in Kingston Neurology, alone in my room at three in the morning: I am my own miserable arthritic grandmother, my own resentful adult daughter. I pretend to be grateful for the opportunity to live; I pretend to be grateful for the responsibility to keep myself alive. I pretend that the awful task of giving voice to sickness can even be begun.

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Open Access

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