The song of the soul: transforming disabling illness through art.




Yalte, Zulis

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The focus of this qualitative, arts-based inquiry was to understand how disabling illness might be transformed through art. A/r/tography -- art/research/teaching and writing, was the method used to explore and understand the meaning(s) held within the art: Border Crossings -- a conceptual, figurative, sculptural installation. The installation embodied the experience of disabling illness, symbolically depicting power relationships, identities, subjectivities and the multi-dimensional nature of being, of one coming up against the institution, the illness and the self. Guided by the work of Heidegger (Hermeneutic Circle), Deleuze and Guatarri (Rhizome and The body without Organs) and Foucault (Power Relationships), the A/r/tographer examined the installation through the lens of the poststructural feminist writers Grosz, Davis, Gatens, Weedon, Moss and Dyck with a focus on the body/subjective to explore notions central to understanding being in a body. A further analysis through art theorists Eisner, Allen and A/r/tographers Irwin and Springgay’s aesthetic perspectives, explicated the nuance of how art transformed the ill researcher and larger community. The results of the inquiry revealed a multi-dimensional, generative process of opening multiple thresholds of complexity, understanding and transformation of the experience of disabling illness for inquirer, and the art participant/observers/larger community. The research illuminates the value of A/r/tography as a potent means of inquiry into lived experience and how art enhances the understandings and possibilities for the transformation of the experience of disabling illness/lived experience.



nursing, fine art, arts-based inquiry, practice-based inquiry, art education, transformation, power relationships, community, Indigenous studies, gender studies, numinous, spiritual, consciousness, philosophy, occupational health, psychology, women's studies