Tag Archives: Melanie Winning

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: The human war

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.

Melanie Winning: The human war
Melanie Winning: The human war

Melanie Winning’s latest illustration is for this story submitted at Wellcome Collection:

I was working as a human rights observer and had been asked to remain in the village of Sieda, in the north of the West bank near Tulkarem. Two wanted men were captured by the Israeli Army, and the villagers asked me to negotiate with the soldiers to make sure the men were not shot or injured before being taken to trial. I walked over the hill several times to speak with the soldiers asking to check on the condition of the arrested men. The third time I went to check with the guards, in the house next to where the arrested men were being questioned, I noticed six children aged from about three to eleven years, each with a different soldier holding a gun to that child’s head. While the adults of the house desperately rushed around bringing the soldiers photographs and documents, I pulled out my camera to film this horrific scenario; not noticing an Israeli sniper in the bushes. The sniper then trained his green laser on me moving the laser slowly up and down between my stomach and my heart. I shouted to him that I was not armed, while still trying to film the six children being held at gun point. I walked backwards attempting to get out of the range of the gun and up some stairs. A man allowed me to take shelter in his house, where I continued to try and film the children through the bullet holes shot into the walls of the house. However, the sniper’s gun may have had some heat seeking sensor and he remained able to track me as I moved inside the house. I went outside so if the soldier did shoot me he could not claim it was an accident. I was shaking so much it was hard to film. The Israeli border police arrived and the laser was taken off me and the soldiers took their guns away from the children’s heads. I am grateful that no one was killed, not the six children or my self and I wish to thank who or whatever kept myself and the children safe that day.

Pennie Quinton, Sieda village near Tulkarem in the West Bank, Palestine. For the people of Sieda village near Tulkarem for sheltering me while I was held at gun point.

You can find out more about Melanie Winning’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: Epic Bubble

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.

Melanie Winning: Epic Bubble
Melanie Winning: Epic Bubble

Melanie Winning’s latest illustration is for this story submitted at Wellcome Collection:

I would like to give thanks for the beauty and poignancy of my lover who died in my arms while we made love. He was young and fit and healthy. It was a rather new love so remains in a perfect trouble free bubble. He died of a massive heart attack, so I did not know he had died so much as…well…I thought he was just blissed out and happy and resting…having a tantric moment. The gratitude is not for his dying. That has taken me years to get over. The gratitude is for the grace with which he passed and the beauty of this experience for me. There was a huge blessing in being chosen to midwife this powerful passing… and for it to be without any constriction or pain. I will never be afraid of death and this experience, in many very real ways, gave me my life back in a much more vibrant and whole and real way.

Katheryn Trenshaw, Devon, 3am Good Friday 2004. For Nigel and my son for his great patience for me at this time.

You can find out more about Melanie Winning’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: Glass Half Full

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.

Melanie Winning: Glass Half Full
Melanie Winning: Glass Half Full

Melanie Winning’s first votive illustration is for this story submitted at Wellcome Collection:

My mother was diagnosed with secondary cancer last December. The doctors didn’t know where the primary tumour was (bad news as we quickly found out) and it wasn’t operable. They didn’t say anything very precise, except that it was serious; I heard ‘months’, my mother ‘years.’ One doctor tried to be philosophical (and helpful), citing the adage ‘Don’t put off anything you want to do, live every day as if…’ Through talking to friends we heard about another doctor, different hospital. We wrote to him. When we saw this very charismatic doctor and his colleagues, it was a surprising – and transformatory – experience. My mother ended up having an operation and more chemotherapy. They removed as much of the cancer as they could. There is a 50% chance of it returning. My mother has a glass half full mentality so this is prognosis is rather apt – and very encouraging, considering the news last December. The latest scan shows no sign of cancer. We could not be more thankful to all those concerned. Whatever happens, we are thankful for the here and now.

Fiona Holland, London. 2010–2011. For Professor Martin Gore and his team, and the surgeons at the Royal Marsden.

You can find out more about Melanie Winning’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.