Framed by Anxiety
by Suaad Walker

Framed by Anxiety* encapsulates the joy of coming to terms (many years after her death) with my much loved mother whose depression and attempted suicides throughout our shared life prevented understanding, or real expression of my love for her.

This piece was triggered by a text, written by John O’Donohue, introduced at one of the Art for Health sessions:-

‘If we could but realize the sureness around us, we would be very much more courageous in our lives. The frames of anxiety that keep us caged would dissolve. We would live the life we love and in that way, day by day, free our future from the weight of regret.’

Attendance at the Writing for Health sessions had already empowered me to write a poem about my father. Although I felt the need to ‘do’ something for my mother I couldn’t find the words or ideas until O’ Donohue’s text provided the phrase ‘Framed by Anxiety’. I initially hadn’t a clue how to put that into any kind of format. What followed was a serendipitous journey that unfolded in leaps and bounds, finding new materials, new ways of using old materials, sometimes experimenting, occasionally deconstructing unsuccessful experiments.  Throughout the whole process, there was a constant thread of growing confidence due to the support from fellow attendees at the Art for Health sessions running in parallel with the development of the piece. Although I produced other pieces during these sessions they were often unrelated to the actual piece yet it benefited from techniques acquired or seen in use by others at the sessions. Attendance at the parallel Writing for Health course empowered me to write a short poem to include in the finished piece.

Suaad Walker

Brooklea Creative Arts for Health group

* This work will be exhibited in the Heartfelt exhibition at the Centrespace Gallery, Bristol 19 - 24th November


Facilitator’s comment:

When Suaad had completed this exquisite veiled hanging and shared its story with us, I was transfixed by her sensitive and metaphoric use of materials. As I recall, coming across a photograph of her mother, radiant in youth, was a key trigger to Suaad stitching the iridescent, backdrop of a piece of heavy, aging fabric which had been in the family for years. A drape of black chiffon mostly conceals her mother’s underlying sparkle, this fabric is drawn into a small medicine bottle to highlight the role of anti-depressant medication. Finally, the framing chain was released from a vintage handbag and provides a perfect visual devise to pull these complex elements together.