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’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.
A few more artworks are appearing in ‘Things’. One contributor has loaned a perspex model of ‘Space Station’, a sculpture by the artist Antony Gormley. It is a maquette for a final sculpture measuring 6 x 9.5 x 6.5 m and made of Corten Steel. The work was exhibited at the Hayward Gallery, London, in 2007.
There have also been a number of sentimental objects loaned to ‘Things’, accompanied by their owners’ stories. Many of these, such as ‘Seagull on a Rock’, have been kept as reminders:
A girl who I was having a love affair with went to Torquay. When she came back she gave me this as a gift. She also told me she was torn over whether to continue our romance or to return to her boyfriend. As my feelings for her were not strong enough, I advised her to return to her boyfriend and this silly seagull has come to represent the whole silly episode.
Another of these items, a plastic money box called ‘Woman in The Shoe’, is from the owner’s childhood:
This object or ‘thing’ I have had since I was a child and loved putting putting coins in so that the old woman popped up.