Contemporary votive illustrations: A gift greater than any

Our exhibition ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings‘ has just closed, but we have a few more contemporary votive illustrations to share with you, based on stories submitted by visitors to Wellcome Collection and to our website. Just as Mexican ex-voto paintings were made by painters to tell stories of thanks, these contemporary stories of gratitude involve an exchange between storyteller and illustrator.

Liz Anelli: A gift greater than any

Liz Anelli: A gift greater than any

Liz Anelli’s latest illustration is for this story:

In the spring of 2009, Jessie Bond was kind enough to give me shelter when I was thrown out of my lodgings by my cantankerous landlady, after giving her notice of my leaving. I had nowhere to go and half of my possessions on my back. I called Jessie at midnight and asked her if I could stay on her sofa. It may not have seemed a great deal worthy of thanks to her but at that exact moment, it was a gift greater than any.

Adam Sweeney, Camberwell, South London, spring 2009. For Jessie Bond.

You can find out more about Liz Anelli’s work and explore more votive illustrations on the Wellcome Collection website.

Contemporary votive illustrations: Twins

Our exhibition ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings‘ has just closed, but we have a few more contemporary votive illustrations to share with you, based on stories submitted by visitors to Wellcome Collection and to our website. Just as Mexican ex-voto paintings were made by painters to tell stories of thanks, these contemporary stories of gratitude involve an exchange between storyteller and illustrator.

Amy Goh: Twins

Amy Goh: Twins

Amy Goh’s latest illustration is for this story:

My pregnancy with twins was fraught with difficulties. I went into labour at 28 weeks, and examination showed they were both in the breech position. They eventually were born, with no medical intervention, nine weeks early, but were both in good health. They were home with me in five weeks. I continually give thanks for all of that, and I am proud to be their mother. I have two other wonderful healthy children.

Carolyn Horn, London 1979. For the greater power.

You can find out more about Amy Goh’s work and explore more votive illustrations on the Wellcome Collection website.

Contemporary votive illustrations: Dad’s lilo

Our exhibition ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings‘ has just closed, but we have a few more contemporary votive illustrations to share with you, based on stories submitted by visitors to Wellcome Collection and to our website. Just as Mexican ex-voto paintings were made by painters to tell stories of thanks, these contemporary stories of gratitude involve an exchange between storyteller and illustrator.

Marta Wawryszuk: Dad's lilo

Marta Wawryszuk: Dad's lilo

Marta Wawryszuk’s latest illustration is for this story:

My sister and I were playing in the sea with an inflatable ‘lilo’ (or bed) and we were joined by my father, who could not swim at all. The tide appeared to be going out again very quickly while we were playing on the lilo. My father took his turn on the lilo, and my sister and I found that we were very quickly out of our depth. We couldn’t reach him, and he sat frozen with fear on the lilo. In a panic, we both ran back to the beach to tell our mother and others on the beach. Some of them tried to swim out to reach him, but he was out too far. Eventually, someone called a lifeboat, which appeared like a vision across the sea. It moved gently towards my father and the lifeguards lifted him onto the boat. When it reached the shore, my father was pale, speechless and shaking. He was given a sugary cup of milky tea. We were all shocked but so relieved and grateful that he was back with us.

Chris Driscoll, Clacton-on-Sea, 1985. For God, people who are lifeguards and the goodness of ordinary people.

You can find out more about Marta Wawryszuk’s work and explore more votive illustrations on the Wellcome Collection website.

Contemporary votive illustrations: Blue baby

Our exhibition ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings‘ has just closed, but we have a few more contemporary votive illustrations to share with you, based on stories submitted by visitors to Wellcome Collection and to our website. Just as Mexican ex-voto paintings were made by painters to tell stories of thanks, these contemporary stories of gratitude involve an exchange between storyteller and illustrator.

Becki Hiscocks: Blue baby

Becki Hiscocks: Blue baby

Becki Hiscocks’ latest illustration is for this story:

I was a blue baby and nearly died at birth, 65 years ago. However, I survived, with reasonable health so far. I feel an enormous sense of gratitude that I live in this day and age, when I can obtain spectacles (all my life), medication for chronic problems (thyroid and migraine) and surgery for muscle damage with relative ease. Without these things, I would be half-blind and very ill or disabled most of the time, if I were even alive. I also have a good house to live in, and enough money to buy food and fuel. I don’t believe in any God, but I give thanks for the great things in my life, and try to do some things which help others who are less fortunate.

Frances Clegg, UK. I just feel very fortunate, and wish that all people shared my good luck.

You can find out more about Becki Hiscocks’s work and explore more votive illustrations on the Wellcome Collection website.

Contemporary votive illustrations: Lost within one’s self

Our exhibition ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings‘ has just closed, but we have a few more contemporary votive illustrations to share with you, based on stories submitted by visitors to Wellcome Collection and to our website. Just as Mexican ex-voto paintings were made by painters to tell stories of thanks, these contemporary stories of gratitude involve an exchange between storyteller and illustrator.

Amy Goh: Lost within one's self

Amy Goh: Lost within one's self

Amy Goh’s latest illustration is for this story:

I am thankful for having people around me who pull me away from the black hole of loneliness. London is one of the biggest and most populated cities in the world; however, it is so easy to be lost within one’s self. My friends and the people close to me have been able to show me the light and steer me away from my own near fatalities of depression. I give thanks for being able to see the light shown from the beauties my loved ones show me, and I give thanks to the one who once loved me.

Hina, London 2010. For Rav Lochab.

You can find out more about Amy Goh’s work and explore more votive illustrations on the Wellcome Collection website.

Contemporary votive illustrations: Dolphin wedding

Our exhibition ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings‘ has just closed, but we have a few more contemporary votive illustrations to share with you, based on stories submitted by visitors to Wellcome Collection and to our website. Just as Mexican ex-voto paintings were made by painters to tell stories of thanks, these contemporary stories of gratitude involve an exchange between storyteller and illustrator.

Melanie Winning: Dolphin wedding

Melanie Winning: Dolphin wedding

Melanie Winning’s latest illustration is for this story:

When my fiance and I decided to get married on the beach in California (where he’s from), I said, “Wouldn’t it be great if a dolphin or a whale turned up as we get married?” He laughed and told me that that would be highly unlikely. On the night before my wedding, 3 August 2011, I had a very vivid dream. In the dream, my father, who passed away in October 2010, came to me and said, “You’re getting married tomorrow, eh?” I replied, “Yes Daddy, and I really want a dolphin to turn up at my wedding.” He laughed and said (as he used to say when I was little), “You can’t get everything you want, Sandra, but I’ll talk to the dolphins and see if they agree to come.” I woke up straight after that, and thought nothing of it.

We got married on the beach, and straight afterwards, the photographer beckoned us away from our guests to take pictures. We were standing alone, and suddenly, about a metre away from the shore, a lone dolphin jumped out of the sea. I screamed “Dolphin! Dolphin!” but only my fiance and I managed to see it. As everyone turned round again, the dolphin jumped out of the sea again. It was a wedding present from my dad.

Sandra Williamson, Rockpile Beach, Laguna Beach, CA, 3 August 2011. For my Dad, for his amazing wedding present.

You can find out more about Melanie Winning’s work and explore more votive illustrations on the Wellcome Collection website.

Contemporary votive illustrations: A lost thing

Our exhibition ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings‘ has just closed, but we have a few more contemporary votive illustrations to share with you, based on stories submitted by visitors to Wellcome Collection and to our website. Just as Mexican ex-voto paintings were made by painters to tell stories of thanks, these contemporary stories of gratitude involve an exchange between storyteller and illustrator.

Alice Thompson: A lost thing

Alice Thompson: A lost thing

Alice Thompson’s latest illustration is for this story:

When I was about five years old I lost a ring; I think it was gold – but anyway, it was very special to me. I was crying and on my way home when an old lady asked me what was wrong. I told her I had lost my ring and she told me to pray to Saint Antony, who is the patron saint of lost things. I prayed with her, and when we looked for my ring again I found it. I tell everyone I know if they lose things to pray to Saint Antony and it usually works. (I would like to add here that I am an atheist.)

Kim Tanner, Worcester. Fifty years ago. Probably for Saint Antony.

You can find out more about Alice Thompson’s work and explore more votive illustrations on the Wellcome Collection website.

Contemporary votive illustrations: Venus in flames

To accompany our current exhibition ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings‘, we’ve been working with professional illustrators to produce contemporary votive illustrations based on stories submitted by visitors to Wellcome Collection and to our website. Just as Mexican ex-voto paintings were made by painters to tell stories of thanks, we want to hear contemporary stories of gratitude and explore the process of exchange between storyteller and illustrator.

Amy Goh: Venus in flames

Amy Goh: Venus in flames

Amy Goh’s latest illustration is for this story:

I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in June 2006, at the age of 26. It was not the most common kind, and it was aggressive. I had surgery six weeks later, and made a full recovery back to health. I will never be pregnant, but I still hope to one day be a mother, and live life to its fullest.

Petra Hall, Bristol, 2006. For Jo Bailey and Mr Murdoch at St Michael’s Hospital, Bristol.

You can find out more about Amy Goh’s work and explore more votive illustrations on the Wellcome Collection website.

Could your gratitude inspire a votive? Tell us your story, and it could form the basis for an illustration.

Contemporary votive illustrations: Cat scratch fever

To accompany our current exhibition ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings‘, we’ve been working with professional illustrators to produce contemporary votive illustrations based on stories submitted by visitors to Wellcome Collection and to our website. Just as Mexican ex-voto paintings were made by painters to tell stories of thanks, we want to hear contemporary stories of gratitude and explore the process of exchange between storyteller and illustrator.

Kinga Szczypińska: Cat scratch fever

Kinga Szczypińska: Cat scratch fever

Kinga Szczypińska’s first illustration is for this story:

When my sister was only five years old, I nine years old, she developed high fevers for several days. She also complained of pain in her neck behind her ears. The doctors discovered there were sacs of pus behind her ears, but the cause was mysterious. They kept draining them, and they kept coming back. Her fevers continued, she grew weaker and weaker. It was a mystery. My mother prayed, and lit prayers to our Saints every day, mostly St Jude. One doctor finally discovered she had an illness called ‘cat scratch fever’, a very rare illness. The doctors were then able to heal her, and today she is 17 years old. I don’t believe that she would have survived if not for God and the Saints hearing our prayers.

Heather Ceja, Los Angeles, CA.

You can find out more about Kinga Szczypińska’s work and explore more votive illustrations on the Wellcome Collection website.

Could your gratitude inspire a votive? Tell us your story, and it could form the basis for an illustration.

Contemporary votive illustrations: Thrice strangled umbilical cord

To accompany our current exhibition ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings‘, we’ve been working with professional illustrators to produce contemporary votive illustrations based on stories submitted by visitors to Wellcome Collection and to our website. Just as Mexican ex-voto paintings were made by painters to tell stories of thanks, we want to hear contemporary stories of gratitude and explore the process of exchange between storyteller and illustrator.

Amy Goh: Thrice strangled umbilical cord

Amy Goh: Thrice strangled umbilical cord

Amy Goh’s latest illustration is for this story:

My elder sister was born with the umbilical cord wrapped three times around her neck. The doctors said she was dead and then my mother prayed to Saint Francis of Assisi to save her. Miraculously she lived and even though doctors predicted she would have brain problems, she is now very healthy with no signs of brain problems.

Matilda, the hospital, 1998. For Saint Francis of Assisi.

You can find out more about Amy Goh’s work and explore more votive illustrations on the Wellcome Collection website.

Could your gratitude inspire a votive? Tell us your story, and it could form the basis for an illustration.