Image Copyright: Sharon Fockhart, 2020
Image Description: The head and shoulders of a person wearing a colourful scarf around their head, a white colour and dark shirt. They are looking down. The background is black.
I took the series of images entitled ‘Separation‘ in 2012/13 to examine the theme of separation in all its forms as experienced by human beings. Chronic illness is an underrepresented and overlooked way in which we experience separation from others, separation from ‘normal’ society and from our own expectation of enjoying an unencumbered physical body. It frequently sets up a sense of undeserved shame in the sufferer because it can’t be overcome and because it’s invisibility invites disbelief. The image entitled ‘Egle’ particularly invokes this sense of shame and background dis-ease for me, a chronically ill person. Although all the images denote separation through the refusal of the gaze, the signifier of the headscarf worn in this particular image, it’s visual association of hair loss through chemotherapy, makes the notion of shame connected to illness more readily accessible.