Savannah Nemeth

The goal of my work is to demonstrate my experience of having Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS), an incurable disorder that has caused me constant, full body pain since high school. This is important to me to express not only for my own sake, but also for the sake of others. Developing disorders similar to my own can feel like losing your youth and become very isolating for young people with disabilities. Many of us with rare conditions become beaten down by failed promises of treatments and go through a series of incorrect diagnoses. In the end, it’s common to fall into silence about the condition so as to not upset others. Because of this, I feel it’s important to talk about these things and let people know they aren’t alone. As well as this, I want to mend this isolation by conveying the experience to those who can’t relate. It is very hard to put a unique feeling into words, so I am working to share my feelings and experiences and start this conversation through art.

To work these concepts into my art, I am using a combination of mostly ceramics and textile art, with some other unconventional materials sprinkled in for their unique qualities. By joining ceramics through yarn or other flexible materials, I create a loose joint in the piece that mirrors my own loose joints. These connections are expressive, ranging from precarious and nearly falling apart to desperately winded up. When I am not making these connections, I emulate their flexibility with just clay alone as another way to highlight the juxtaposition of flexibility and stability. In some form, these pieces all have a unique flexibility, or a sense of flexibility, that sturdy ceramics are not meant to have, reflecting the hypermobility of my joints.

However, this deeper meaning of my work lies underneath a colorful and fun exterior. At a glance, the energetic colors, beads, fabric, and other additional decorative materials I incorporate are the first things viewers may notice. These elements convey a sense of superficial youth and energy that is contrasted against my pieces’ deeper meanings in a way that parallels the image of health and youth young people with invisible illnesses appear to have on the surface.

Website: savannah.nemeth

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