Hidden Agenda: ARTiculating the Unspeakable

Hidden Agenda is a large-scale multi-faceted project about living with an altered body in the aftermath of colorectal cancer. This work is intensely personal and provocative. It is also thoughtful, informative, tasteful, and surprisingly beautiful. It is about the relentless repetition and inconvenience of an ostomy and its care. It is about the passage of time as measured in medical supplies and their packing materials. It speaks of issues around self-image, privacy, a reluctance to talk about these things, and a need to talk about these things. And yes, it is about rising above all of this with lightness and humor.

As soon as I found the courage to share this work others, the art became a useful and necessary tool for communication about an otherwise unspeakable topic. It provided a long-overdue vehicle for discussions about a crude and outdated medical procedure still used as state-of-art treatment for a variety of gastrointestinal diseases.

People have thanked me for facilitating this dialogue. Friends say they have not wanted to seem unconcerned, but they simply didn't know what to say. Nurses say they have cared for patients with ostomies but had not stopped to think about what it would be like to actually have one. Physicians say they want their peers to see this. And people with ostomies say it is about time. My hope is that increased awareness will lead to new solutions for people with gastrointestinal diseases.

Carol Chase Bjerke

See also:
Hidden Agenda, by Carol Chase Bjerke
Published by Borderland Books, 2008
Hardcover. 96 pages, with 65 full-color illustrations
ISBN 978-0-9815620-0-1
For more information CLICK HERE

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