When you struggle with endometriosis, it can be extremely difficult to articulate your pain to others. While you look perfectly fine on the outside, your insides may feel like they’re on fire. This dichotomy can be challenging when trying to help others understand the challenges and pain that often accompanies endometriosis.
To combat this, three artists – all diagnosed with the disease – have chosen to artistically express their pain by visually communicating what endometriosis feels like. This article features each one’s personal journey and dedication to raising awareness.
The Australian Artist – Ellie Kammer
In 2015, artist Ellie Kammer, was diagnosed with Stage II Endometriosis after years of unexplained pain. She was 24 years old at the time. Since then, Kammer has required multiple surgeries to manage and treat her pain. The battle with this chronic disease has been difficult and in 2016, Kammer put her artistic talent into practice to help liberate her from the emotional frustration of her condition.
Trying to explain the pain of endometriosis is not an easy task, but Kammer has not held back. Her endometriosis art often features nude women covered in menstrual blood. The women in her oil paintings are often cupping their lower abdominal as if in an effort to ease the pain they’re experiencing.
Grappling with endometriosis through her artwork has not only been for Kammer’s sake, but for the other 1 in 10 women that have endometriosis. In fact, in 2017, Kammer took her artwork a step further by featuring another advocate for the endometriosis community, Lena Dunham. Kammer’s artwork of Dunham went viral on social media, bringing her endometriosis art into the spotlight internationally.
To learn more about artist Ellie Kammer, and her battle with endometriosis, visit EllieKammer.com.
The Nature Artist – Amanda Adkins
Amanda Adkins was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 24, but only recently at 41 took to her paintbrush to illustrate her pain from endometriosis. Using nature for her inspiration, her paintings have featured everything from blackbirds, to pomegranate seeds, to flowers and more.
The extent of Adkins’ endometriosis pain and complications brought on by the disease were so severe that it resulted at one point her being placed in a medically induced coma. She’s since had a partial hysterectomy and her ovaries removed to help manage her endometriosis.
Not only has Adkins used painting as an outlet for pain, but she along with other artists worked with filmmaker, June Lantzer, to create a short film called Endometriosis: Artists who Advocate. The short film which features several artists, including Adkins, speaking on their own battles with endometriosis. Endometriosis: Artists who Advocate premiered at Adkins’ The Crow Speak show on September 21, 2018.
The Art Photographer – Margaret Kalms
Unlike the other artists on our list, artist Margaret Kalms uses her talents in a different form. Rather than painting, Kalms is an art photographer. Her photo art features what she calls visual screams.
Kalms is an advocate for the endometriosis community and a well-known fundraising organizer in Canberra, the capital of Australia. Canberra is home to the Canberra Endometriosis Centre, a world-class research clinic. In April 2018, Kalms presented the Canberra Endometriosis Centre a check for $3,000, collected through art exhibition of her work, to contribute to their advancement in endometriosis research.
Learn more about art photographer, Margaret Kalms, at EndoWomanArt.com.
What Does Endometriosis Feel Like?
While you may not be able to share your pain in the same way as artists Ellie Kammer, Amanda Adkins, and Margaret Kalms, it doesn’t mean you can’t express your endometriosis in another way. Tell us how you explain your endometriosis pain to others. Share your story with us on our website, Facebook or Instagram.