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Understanding a life of illness through the art of Frida Kahlo

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Abstract

That nursing is an art as well as a science is in danger of becoming a cliché unless attempts are made to reverse the marginalization and exclusion of arts and humanities within nursing. An educational approach to promoting more esthetic and less instrumental thinking and understanding is described. This approach enables nurses to gain a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of suffering, chronic pain, miscarriage, and disability through engaging with the art of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

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... Lidam com o que significa ser humano e viver uma vida humana. Apontam para o que as pessoas experimentam, para como elas interpretam o mundo e respondem a ele, para o sentido que elas fazem dele e para qual seja a experiência universal de humanidade e raça humana (Wilson, 1974;Hardison, 1977;Bruderle e Valiga, 1994;Darbyshire, 1994). ...
... As Humanidades Médicas são disciplinas aplicadas a questões gerais ou particulares da práxis médica (Portugal-Alvarez, 1991). Entre elas figuram todas as Artes, a História Médica, Religião, Língua e Comunicação e Filosofia Médica (com os campos da Ética, Bioética, Epistemologia e Estética) (Portugal-Alvarez, 1991;Bruderle, 1994;Darbyshire, 1994;Taylor, 1995;Hook, 1996;Malacrida et al., 1998). ...
... No caso específico das Artes, a literatura de Educação em Profissões de Saúde é também prolífica em comunicar tentativas de inserção de experiências artísticas nos seus currículos. Muitos cursos são descritos, alguns dedicados às Artes Visuais (Bergman et al., 1982;Biggerstaff et al., 1984;Hoshiko, 1985;Bresnahan & Hunter, 1989;Hogg, 1989;Loden, 1989;Davis, 1992;Darbyshire, 1994), outros, às Artes Cinemáticas (Bresnahan & Hunter, 1989;Dichi, 1994;Crellin & Briones, 1995 incluem as Artes Visuais e Cinemáticas (Moore, 1976;Bertman & Marks, 1985;Middleton et al., 1993;Peden & Staten, 1994;Vande-Zande, 1995). Na maioria dos casos, o estudante é observador da Arte. ...
Article
Appropriate professional training in the field of infection by HIV (Aids) assumes that treatment and care will be provided in a suitable, ethical and humane manner. Concern with such training has heightened the discussion on how medical training can integrate the acquisition of technical excellence with humanistic traits. Thus, Medical Education starts to incorporate the challenge of adapting itself in such a way as to provide physicians (the end product of its curricula) with both a humanistic and humane education. The Humanities, and specifically the Arts, are disciplines that classically accomplish this function. We postulate and argue that they should be introduced into medical curricula, whether due to their intrinsic value, as a source of aesthetic experience and knowledge, or whether because they can facilitate the achievement of broader objectives within these curricula.
... Darbyshire developed a course for nursing students using literature to aid in understanding caring ( Darbyshire 1994a). Darbyshire used examples of Frida Kahlo's art to demonstrate how students can learn about illness cycles through observing and interpreting art ( Darbyshire 1994b). Wikström declared that creative human caring could not develop in an education devoid of the arts and humanities ( Wikström 2001). ...
... The course was offered to Registered Nurses pursuing a Bachelor of Arts with Honors Health Studies degree. This article described the section of the nursing humanities course that used Frida Kahlo's art to bring students to a deeper understanding of the complexity of human experience ( Darbyshire 1994b). Examining Kahlo's work could open new ways of thinking, learning, and understanding of lived experiences of human suffering (Darbyshire 1994b). ...
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Background: Nursing research has concentrated on empirical knowing with little focus on aesthetic knowing. Evidence from the literature suggests that using visual art in nursing education enhances both clinical observation skills and interpersonal skills. The purpose of this review was to explore how visual art has been used in baccalaureate nursing education. Methods: Of 712 records, 13 studies met the criteria of art, nursing and education among baccalaureate nursing students published in English. Results: Three quantitative studies demonstrated statistical significance between nursing students who participated in arts-based learning compared to nursing students who received traditional learning. Findings included improved recall, increased critical thinking and enhanced emotional investment. Themes identified in 10 qualitative studies included spirituality as role enhancement, empathy, and creativity. Conclusion: Visual arts-based learning in pre-licensure curriculum complements traditional content. It supports spirituality as role enhancement in nurse training. Visual art has been successfully used to enhance both critical thinking and interpersonal relations. Nursing students may experience a greater intra-connectedness that results in better inter-connectedness with patients and colleagues. Incorporating visual arts into pre-licensure curriculums is necessary to nurture holistic nursing practice.
... Her name was mentioned in many more papers discussing pain, art, and related issues. Besides of the titles already mentioned here, some papers discuss the role of herself depicting her pain and her medical interventions [26][27][28][29][30][31][32] ; the perspective of her case as seen by rheumatologists 33,34 ; the sublimation of her suffering, pain, and loss, describing possible psychiatric explanations. [35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42] Even her homoeroticism has been discussed. ...
Article
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Frida Kahlo's medical history shows sequelae of polio, a severe traumatic event that caused multiple fractures and a penetrating pelvic injury, as well as a history of countless surgeries. In her biographical accounts and her works, chronic disabling pain always appears for long periods. Besides, a chronic foot ulcer, gangrene that required amputation of the right leg, a history of abortions, and a positive Wasserman reaction suggest that the artist could have suffered from antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS).
... These cannot be discussed in detail here, but they might be used by the researcher, for example, as forms of representation (see Hevey's 1992 work on disability imagery) or as contributing to autobiographical enquiry as in the case of Jo Spence (1986Spence ( , 1991Spence ( , 1995 and her work with Rosy Martin on 'phototherapy' (Martin and Spence 1987, Spence and Martin 1988, Dennett 1997. Darbyshire (1994) has proposed that viewing and interpreting the paintings of Frieda Kahlo provides a basis for articulating personal views of suffering and caring in a way similar to Barthes' (1981) idea that symbolism invites us to speak about others' experience and so also to speak about our own. The camera as a visual technology has been evaluated in two contradictory ways. ...
Article
Abstract This review starts from the premise that the visual has been, until recently, a neglected dimension in our understanding of social life, despite the role of vision in other disciplines, including medicine itself. The potential for a visual approach will be analysed drawing on a range of studies, broadly within the sociology of health and illness, which have used visual approaches. I highlight the value of visual methodology projects within qualitative approaches to research more generally, and assess the difficulties as well as the advantages. It is suggested that using visual methodologies does not necessarily lead to greater reactivity in the research process as has sometimes been proposed; and that visual worlds are themselves unique topics of sociological study which may be enhanced by using visual techniques rather than written and spoken language. A combination of visual and traditional methods can also be fruitful. Painting and drawing, video, film, and still photography are included as examples which researchers have used and can use.
... Such an argument is not isolated. Investigations over the past 20 years by Darbyshire (1996); Kirklin, Meakin, Singh, and Lloyd (2000); Lazarus and Rosslyn (2003); Blomqvist, Pitkälä, and Routasalo (2007); Geranmayeh and Ashkan (2008); and Kumagi (2012) point out that the study of the arts improves one's ability to empathize. Viewing and listening to works of art teaches the dangers of self-selecting observations. ...
... Rodgers och Cowles (1993) (Morse et al., 2002;Riessman, 1993). Ricoeur (1976) (Locsin, Barnard, Matua, & Bongomin, 2003;Pendleton, Cavalli, Pargament, & Nasr, 2002), liksom även i undervisning inom vård (Darbyshire, 1994;McAllister & Rowe, 2003). ...
... Drawings, photos, and artistic masterpieces have been used earlier in qualitative nursing research as a means of obtaining rich data descriptions or to illustrate interpretations (Hodges, Keeley, & Grier, 2001;Locsin, Barnard, Matua, & Bongomin, 2003;Pendleton, Cavalli, Pargament, & Nasr, 2002). Darbyshire (1994) and McAllister and Rowe (2003) used masterpieces of art, images, lyrics, and films in nursing and research education as strategies to help students develop sense and creativity in relation to their future work. ...
Article
Nine adults were interviewed in order to illuminate the meanings of being dependent on a ventilator and living at home. The data were analysed using a phenomenological-hermeneutic method inspired by the philosophy of Ricoeur. Five main themes emerged through the analysis: experiencing home as a safe and comfortable space from which to reach out, experiencing the body as being frail, brave and resilient, striving to live in the present, surrendering oneself to and trusting others, and experiencing technology as a burden and a relief to the lived body. Meanings of being home on a ventilator were interpreted as maintaining autonomy and persistence in interaction with the ventilator and other human beings and being able to rise above yourself and your personal boundaries in order to live a good life. These meanings indicate that aesthetic and ethical values impact on the lived body. They are bound up with experiencing a vital force and interdependency, bringing safety and courage into daily life.
... The column is disconnected and vaguely represents the artist's malformed spine (Figure 2). Kahlo and Harper exhibit their ailing organs openly, to express their unseen illnesses [6]. Harper's colon and Kahlo's spine share another similarity in that they are presented without context in the rest of the picture. ...
... Her name was mentioned in many more papers discussing pain, art, and related issues. Besides of the titles already mentioned here, some papers discuss the role of herself depicting her pain and her medical interventions [26][27][28][29][30][31][32] ; the perspective of her case as seen by rheumatologists 33,34 ; the sublimation of her suffering, pain, and loss, describing possible psychiatric explanations. [35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42] Even her homoeroticism has been discussed. ...
Article
Full-text available
Frida Kahlo's medical history shows sequelae of polio, a severe traumatic event that caused multiple fractures and a penetrating pelvic injury, as well as a history of countless surgeries. In her biographical accounts and her works, chronic disabling pain always appears for long periods. Besides, a chronic foot ulcer, gangrene that required amputation of the right leg, a history of abortions, and a positive Wasserman reaction suggest that the artist could have suffered from antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS).
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