Friday, 9 October 2009

Go Penguins

Currently, I'm doing something slightly unusual to help raise awareness of ME and invisible disabilities in general.

Some of you may know that 2008 was Liverpool's Capital of Culture, and this was marked by all sorts of events taking place in the city all year. One such even was Go Superlambananas, which involved mini Superlambananas being decorated and posted round the city. I sadly wasn't well enough to be involved in this due to glandular fever. To follow on from this highly successful event, this winter Liverpool (and the surrounding area) is being taken over by Penguins, creating a Winter Wonderland, under the initiative Go Penguins, created by Wild in Art. Check out:

Artists and the community were given the opportunity to submit designs, with the hope of being chosen to create the design on a penguin. I, of course, jumped at this opportunity, and I knew straight away I wanted to make a statement about ME. All ME sufferers have been through the battles of not being believed because "you don't look sick", and they all know that infamous phrase, "you look well today!" Well I wanted to challenge these perceptions, and make people realise that you really can't judge by appearances - you never know what is going on underneath the surface.

My problem was, I wanted to make this penguin look "normal", but I needed it to stand out as having ME too! Obviously, the ironic issue for me here was that ME is invisible, and therefore there was no obvious solution. So what did I come up with? The penguin looks normal - black and white, beak and wings. There are no differences. There is just one very thought provoking question wrapped round the penguin, "Do I look like I have an invisible disability?"

I submitted my design, and was fortunate enough to have mine chosen, sponsored by the Lady Lever Art Gallery on the Wirral! This is thrilling for me, that my local art gallery has chosen to display my art work!

But it wasn't until me and my Dad arrived at the warehouse to collect the penguin did I realise the scale of the task I had taken on. This penguin was nearly as tall as me, at 1.5m high, and we nearly had to take the doors off to fit it in our house (don't look too closely at out paintwork anymore!) at 75cm wide...

I have 3 weeks to paint my design onto it, varnish it, and get it back to the organisers. It's going to be tough going, working it round trying to manage my ME, and completing it on a tight time scale. But it shows that ME sufferers are not lazy, and we want to make people realise this is a serious illness.

I am taking regular rest breaks, and working painting the penguin round my best times of day (mid afternoon and middle of the night!), grr at ME!

Anyway, I want to show the penguin from start to finish.

Photos from the day of collection, Tuesday 6th October.

The warehouse where many artists are painting:

Penguins waiting for collection:

Taking over Dad's car:

In front of our house, having a wipe down!

Penguin love :) I should inform you his name is George...

Penguin and paints:

My Dad vandalising George:

First day of creativity: Wednesday 7th October.

My first attempt at the lettering. I realised it was too small...

So I had to take it all off, and I stacked it up on his head for ease :P You can also see the sketched outline :)

Third attempt at lettering, after the second attempt I printed in the wrong font!

Letters being arranged...

Letters glued down...

Thursday 8th October.

Dedication on tail:

First layers of white and yellow paint:

Friday 9th October.
Second coats of white and yellow, and first coat of orange.

First coat of black!

Updates will hopefully be more regular from now on :)

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