Powerful images telling the story of a family whose life has been turned upside-down by caring for their disabled child are at the heart of a remarkable new project by Leigh artist Nicola Parry. Her photo-documentary will be displayed during the Leigh Art Trail in June.
Nicola’s work offers a glimpse into a world normally hidden from view, as the Wrights look after 13-year-old S, born with severe brain damage, and his two younger brothers. The family invited Nicola into their home to highlight the immense challenges they, and thousands of others like them, face day to day.
“I’ve been in and out to observe and document their life on camera - from washing and eating to socialising and shopping,” explained Nicola.
“It has been humbling to observe parents who have a life they never expected, which involves feeding tubes, pumps, physiotherapy and endless hospital visits. The simplest of everyday activities takes incredible time, organisation and energy.”
Nicola works in special education but says she could never have fully imagined the impact of caring for a child with life-limiting disabilities at home. “I realise I have a responsibility through my work to help affect change,” she said.
And S’s mother Rachel, who campaigns for equality and support for families of disabled children, was happy to be involved in a project which illuminates the issues her family face.
“From our first encounter with Nicola, I saw her desire to capture the reality of life for families like ours and trust began to form,” she said. “I guess I hoped that we would get a couple of good images we could display at home. What we have gained is so much more.
“I no longer value the perfectly formed family photos, but those images I didn’t notice Nicola taking while life was in full swing. I was surprised by the depth of the story found in each picture.
“Flicking through the images I am captivated by what I see. In so many ways, we are like any other family, yet our reality is painfully different. Nicola gently reveals the juggling act we have come to call normal. Her images give a backdrop to our remarkable and beautiful yet brutally complex life.”
Nicola’s photo-documentary project will be displayed at Polar House, 103 Rectory Grove, Leigh-on-Sea, during the Leigh Art Trail. Please find attached images.
The 23rd Leigh Art Trail showcases the work of more than 70 artists in local shops, cafes and businesses from June 8-15.