A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of judging some excellent art by children living with Ideopathic Juvenile Arthritis. This took place at the Nuffield Hospital in Oxford, and was organised (superbly) by Anne Gilbert of NRAS.
It's hard to do a lot of things with RA. One of the hardest was judging the paintings! They were all asked to depict their response to their condition. Winning pictures included a wonderful dolphin representing a nurse communicating with a teddy bear (the painter/patient). There was also a very finely executed abstract 3D work representing the spikes and tangles of arthritic pain, and a interestingly ambiguous painting of a girl standing in water, with her back turned to the viewer. I wasn't asked to name a Best in Show, but if I had it would have been this work by 10 year old Ariane. I love the way she has the clinical stuff like blood tests and scans in the background, and in front of this a joyous figure celebrating remission.
There is another area competition on Saturday 5th December, for young people being treated in the Bristol area. I had hoped to introduce NRAS to a local artist to do the judging there, but the ones I know are already committed or uncontactable. If any of you know of an artist in or near Bristol who might be willing to volunteer as a judge (it is only takes a couple of hours) do please either let me know, or direct them to Anne Gilbert at NRAS. It might be preferable if the artist had RA, or some other auto-immune disease, but it isn't essential. They could always be briefed.