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Semi Finalist for the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize 2014

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Ms Soula With TheoAlmost 150 works were selected from nearly 1,000 entries.

2014 judges were, Edmund Capon AM OBE, and Lewis Miller, Australian Artist. Both viewed all entries and made their selection of semi finalists.

Very chuffed to be selected as a semi finalist regardless of the outcome. The portrait was flown up to Sydney for a second round of judging. She didn’t make the final cut of 30 finalists but I feel so content that Ms Soula is going to great lengths to create awareness for invisible pain.

Ms Soula, Self Portrait. Oil on board. Statement as follows:

I found painting my self directly, was too confronting. The pain would consume the artwork and the happiness that I prefer to document in my artwork began to fade.

I believe it was a trip to Italy that influenced me to commission puppeteer, Colleen Bourke to make a ‘Soula’ marionette. Now, in focusing on painting ‘me’ as a marionette, it is strength, hope and survival that surfaces in my work, instead of pain.

The marionette, Ms Soula, shows no sign of her invisible illness. Her strings are a metaphor for the loss of independence that comes with chronic illness. The portrait is one of great hope and also shows the immense support I’ve had from my partner, Theo, whose portraits so aptly crept into this scene.

My creative ability is what I admire greatly, and specifically how it translated into a survival mechanism as I dealt with chronic pain. Chronic pain is a serious health issue and still very misunderstood. I hope to create awareness for its invisible qualities.

View the semi-finalists for 2014. View the finalists for 2014

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What is Pudendal Neuralgia (PN)?

Most simply put PN is Carpal Tunnel in the pelvis/buttocks. Compression of the Pudendal Nerve occurs after trauma to the pelvis and is aggrevated with pressure. The pain is often described as a toothache like pain, with spasms, sensations of tingling, numbness, or burning. It can be very debilitating.

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