Isabella Erasmus

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition

The Great Uterine Remedy

The focus of my work has been Endometriosis; the illness and the stigma around it, through the lens of my personal experience. The aim of this collection was designed so that I could harness this and work through and express my experience in addition to opening up conversations around the topic. This work pushed me to question why, and the historical research shows that for a long period of time the ailments of women were not prioritised, often being entirely dismissed. My experience with doctors reflects the lingering effects of this medical misogyny.

My work is grounded in the writing of Audre Lorde, ‘A Burst of light’. While our conditions may not be the same, my reading of her experience felt validating in our shared lulls, fears, and anger. To live with pain, to try and find answers, to find connection in such isolation. This is the reason I must make the work I make. To live through my experience and all that it encompasses. To shout from the rooftops even if no one is listening, for the chance to make one person feel less alone. For this reason, I lay my body and my mind open in this work, for else it would eat me up inside. After all, I already have something doing such, so what is there to lose?

I have used materials that have worked with me and against me, creating a conversation between the soft and the sharp. The use of objects, such as a table, speaks to the feeling of laying on a table before examination and thus being reduced to an object of curiosity. This is a feeling I know all too well. I have used methods of creation that are generally considered women’s craft, such as felting. Needle-felting provided me with a method of self-care. Care is reflected in the preparation and slow process of using wool. In order to connect with the herbal medicine alluded to in my IV bags and bottles, I made my own natural dyes for the wool. The process of making the dye, dying the wool, rinsing it, drying it and brushing it out provided moments of injecting care into the foundational process of my work. This added to the feeling of intentionality. All the identifiable objects seen in my work are inherited from my grandmother. These objects serve as a conduit to talk about the everyday, inherited illness, and history. The process of breaking down and building up again reflects my search for answers all around me.

My work aims to provide a look inside; inside of me, inside of illness, and inside of the viewer. Through conversation, we learn and grow. In conversation, I can try and highlight the commonality of something many people have never even heard of. It is my hope that for those people my work gives an opportunity to pause and consider more than themselves — to spark thought beyond the superficial level discussion of endometriosis. Making the invisible starkly visible is a reminder that I am not alone - none of us are.

“I am discovering how furious and resistant some pieces of me are, as well as how terrified.” (Lorde, 2017)