Tanya Duckworth

Community Arts & Cultural Development

Endometriosis: illustrated

Endometriosis is a painful & debilitating disease affecting 1 in 10 women, with no cure.
I am creating an exhibition documenting my endometriosis experience to increase public education & awareness.

Days Left

I scream and scream until sound evades my lungs,
My throat feels like it’s closing in,
I have lost my voice,
I have lost my air…
I gasp to find it, but no air filters through…
to give relief from the knife that twists in my abdomen…
my left
my right
my middle
the weights that have been placed in my legs,
I cannot run…
I fold,
I fold
on the cold, glazed, ceramic…

That tile looks like a lion…my mind wanders to find beauty in the mundane,
relief, for a second…
*gasp* and I wail
as another dagger plunges into my back,
and twisted with the quiet sadism
of a hand no-one
can see

a final blow from both enemies forces up whatever insides I had remaining,
into the bowl I hug before me,
security blanket
I am too afraid to leave it’s side

At 14-years old, I am told “period pain is normal, all women live with it, so will you.”

And my voice is taken from me, by 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10…or more doctors, who should know better…

ENDOMETRIOSIS is a disease affecting 1 in 10 women, where the endometrial cells that line the uterus, grow outside the uterus, & behave as they would in the uterus, by shedding & bleeding in other areas of the body. In severe cases, these cells grow in & around areas including: the bowel, bladder, ovaries, uterus, & even on the spinal nerves, sometimes fusing other organs together, causing crippling pain, nausea, vomiting & nerve pain in the back & legs. They can grow in other areas of the body also.

Most women with endometriosis begin having symptoms from their first period. On average, it takes 7-10-years for a woman to be diagnosed, from first presentation of symptoms to a doctor. There is an astounding lack of eduction on this disease in both the medical profession & in the general public about the impact that this condition has on women. Endometriosis has a devastating impact not only on sufferers physical health, but also their mental health, employment & relationships.

I believe it is important to all women suffering with endometriosis that both the medical profession & the general public are made aware of the true impact of this disease on sufferers lives, & it’s subsequent impact on the economy due to lost productivity, & relationship breakdowns.

The funds raised from this campaign will support the production costs for an exhibition of artworks depicting raw emotional illustrations of my life with endometriosis, along with one larger work to be submitted for entry in the Archibald Prize – a platform which I believe could truly bring the attention needed to this cause, in a painting that wholly illustrates the heartbreaking agony that sufferers of this disease endure intermittently throughout their lifetime.

20% of proceeds from exhibition sales will be donated to Endometriosis Australia, and I also hope to raise enough to create an educational picture book from my artworks with accompanying information about endometriosis.

I am an artist and a neuroscientist based in Sydney, Australia.

My work focuses on the analysis and documentation of neuroscientific processes through artistic mediums.

In December 2016 I was awarded a studio art residency at Create or Die Studios, Marrickville and my current work is focused on creating sculptural installations of neural networks with accompanying works on paper exploring the scientific underpinnings of love as a habit-forming biological drive, including the neurobiological processes associated with falling in love, as well as the physiological withdrawal of heartbreak.

I have exhibited both locally and internationally, including having my photographic work shown in a public exhibition projected onto the 42 story Linc LIC building in Long Island, New York in 2013 and contributing to group shows in San Antonio in 2004, 2008 and 2014. In 2015, my photographic portraiture work was exhibited at the Louvre in Paris, as part of The Exposure Award and was published in The Body Collection exhibition catalogue from the event. 

Recently I was invited to give a talk at the Double Dialogues International Conference for interdisciplinary arts in New York City in April 2017.


Heidi Douglass


Scott MacKillop


Karina Aivazian


Mikael Amanda


Vanessa Huron


Tim Kremer


Kathrin Metzger