Elaine Scarry once said that ‘to have pain is to have certainty, to be without pain is to have doubt’ (The Body in Pain, 1985.)
When I pitched the concept for this post to South-Western Sydney-based artist and art educator Mariah Calman we were on the brink of a Kleenex moment. Sitting out the front of her house with the engine switched off, we had our first open conversation about her diagnosis of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, a neurological disorder caused by increased pressure placed on the brain. Unavoidably raw, vulnerable and hauntingly autobiographical, her recent sketches leave no room for doubt; Mariah is in pain. The trajectory of Calman’s practice has become similar to that of some of her idols – namely Frida Kahlo and Mike Parr – as she refuses to let her pain dictate her life. Don’t stop there!