A photographic insight into the intimate lives of siblings challenged by a genetic condition, who are separate and yet deeply entwined, is on from Wednesday 8 January to Sunday 19 January at The Gallery, Oxo Tower, SE1 9PH. There is a private view on Thursday 9 January.
Paul Wenham-Clarke spent two years exploring families across the UK, investigating how they cope with varying degrees of disability and illustrating their struggles, goals and motivations. The stories cover familiar conditions such as Down’s Syndrome to very rare conditions such DOORs with only six cases in the UK. One of the family’s sons, Awstin, 8, has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He is pictured with his sister Evie 10.
Paul has won numerous professional awards including an Association of Photographers Gold Award and been featured on the BBC2 Culture Show. He is a Professor of Photography at the Arts University Bournemouth where he runs the MA Commercial Photography course. He has had previous works shown at the National Portrait Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, Somerset House and St Martin-in-the-Fields Gallery.
Throughout his work there is a strong desire to communicate with the public on the social and environmental issues he is passionate about.
Often these ask us to consider topics that are unseen but virtually under our noses or in our back yards. Whether it is the loss of human (When Lives Collide) and animal life on our roads (Sacrifice the Birdsong), or the terrible plight of our homeless (Hard Times), or as in the case of his latest book Urban Gypsies – a community fighting to project its cultural identity.
In this – his latest work – Paul asks us to consider how the lives of siblings can be very different from one another as a consequence of their genes. He said:
“In recent years science has made big strides in understanding the human genome and these potentially will revolutionise the treatment of people with genetic conditions. This exhibition represents a snapshot of society and our attitudes towards disability, at a time that is on the cusp of a wave of change.”