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Artist's college exhibit shows the struggle and dreams of Romford friend with painful terminal illness

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 June 2018 | UPDATED: 10:50 15 June 2018

Blue Riddle in her mermaid blanket with Amanda Jenner who created her Into the Blue art exhibit inspired by Blue's terminal condition. Photo: Yazz Stevens

Blue Riddle in her mermaid blanket with Amanda Jenner who created her Into the Blue art exhibit inspired by Blue's terminal condition. Photo: Yazz Stevens

Archant

A cold prison cell transforms into an atmospheric seascape in this special sensory exhibit created to demonstrate the struggles and dreams of a 32-year-old woman with a painful terminal condition.

Amanda Jenner, 48, from Turpin Avenue in Romford was inspired by the painful reality of her friend living with a terminal condition for her final year Art project at Havering College.

She told the Recorder: “The final project was originally called Sensory Frustration, as I wanted to explore the extremes of the sensory deprived to the sensory overloaded.

“A friend of mine, Blue Riddle, is bedridden most of the time so she represented the sensory deprived and some of my friend’s have autism, and they represented the sensory overloaded.

“As the project progressed it became more and more about Blue and the name changed to Into the Blue.”

Blue loved the feeling of the mermaid tail Amanda Jenner created as part of her art exhibit Into the Blue. Photo: Yazz StevensBlue loved the feeling of the mermaid tail Amanda Jenner created as part of her art exhibit Into the Blue. Photo: Yazz Stevens

It took Amanda three months to complete the exhibit and two weeks to set up the exhibition in Ardleigh Green Campus.

Three years ago Blue’s foot was crushed by a cider barrel at work and this caused her body to overreact and one side of her body to become extremely sensitive.

“She developed a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, (CRPS),” Amanda said.

“Even the softest fabric [touching Blue’s skin] is excruciating, in fact her physiotherapy involved running a piece of silk over her skin.”

Blue shared her experiences of living with CRPS and told Amanda, “I often dream that I could just swim off into the sea and I wouldn’t have any more pain”.

Amanda kept a book detailing the experiences which she used as inspiration for her atmospheric exhibit.

Into the Blue starts in a dark room that looks like a prison cell, and shows a mermaid jumping through a mirror into another room that has been transformed into a seascape with plenty to touch as well as see.

Blue visited the exhibition on Wednesday, June 13 for what Amanda described as an “emotional” experience.

“She loved the [feel of the] sand on her sore toe, and the smooth feeling of the cobbles.

“[Blue] had a sleep in the sensory room under the sea as it all became too much.”

Local businesses supported the exhibition, such as Wilkinson’s Romford who donated the paint and wallpaper as part of their Helping Hands project.

Amanda has worked as a face painter and body artist for her company Feelgoodpainted, since 2011, but wanted to gain a foundation in other art subjects to improve her skills as an overall artist.

Into the Blue will be displayed with the rest of Havering College student’s exhibits from Tuesday, June 12 - Friday June 15.

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