Rita Ann Burke
MS and Me
Receiving a diagnosis of a degenerative autoimmune disease is a life-altering moment. The relationship with my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is complex, with the realisation that my body is attacking itself, creating multiple lesions in my brain and spinal cord.
One of the central nervous system’s smallest and most important components is the neuron. It is responsible for transmitting information throughout the nervous system and is essential for every action in our body and brain. MS triggers white blood cells in the body to attack the protective covering of the neurons, disrupting the communication pathways and affecting how my body works.
This is an unpredictable disease, where symptoms are often invisible. They manifest themselves in a seemingly random way. Order and chaos are closely related. I work daily to manage and control this autoimmune disease. The initial overwhelming negativity is now balanced by a reclaiming of control, embracing change and facilitating many positive life decisions.
Using the neuron as a metaphor for the disease, my work explores the order and chaos that has been forced on me. Porcelain, with its contradictions of strength and delicacy, is my chosen material to explore these concerns. As it moves in the kiln, I relinquish control, just as I must sometimes relinquish control to MS. Glaze inclusions act as lesions on the pure porcelain as I strive to make the invisible visible.