Friday, February 23, 2024

I brought the dream of flying, GOMA 2023

 I brought the dream of flying exhibition by Corina Duyn & Caroline Schofield. Supported by Waterford Healing Arts Trust, GOMA, and Creative Waterford

(Copied from website)

 Pascale De Coninck, Corina Duyn, Caroline Schofield

In April 2021 I moved into long term care. The I brought the dream of flying exhibition by artists Corina Duyn and Caroline Schofield came as a result of this move. It took place at GOMA Gallery of Modern Art, Waterford from 14 January to 11 February 2023.  “Inspired by a broken-winged bird puppet which accompanied Corina when she moved to full-time nursing home care last year, the exhibition features work made in response to this move and illustrates the new collaborative creative process Corina has developed with Caroline as a result of her increasing disability…” The exhibition was presented by Waterford Healing Arts Trust and GOMA, with funding from Creative Waterford. See full WONDERFUL PRESS RELEASE  WHAT or GOMA

We were very honoured to have had many of the art from the exhibition included in the creative program of Creative Brain Week in Dublin. 6-11 March 2023. With a lunch time talk at the gallery on Wednesday 8th March. Talk by Maeve Butler (WHAT), Caroline Schofield and Dominic Campbell, Curator and Programmer Creative Brain Week. Unfortunately I was too ill to take part but I was ‘there’ via a voice recording, and the screening of the ‘Invisible Octopus’ video poem .

Further resources: 

Full Case Study on Arts + from early collaboration to exhibition in Waterford, Dublin and creative life beyond. (Published 1 June 2023)

Short video of my visit on 31-1-23 YouTube (6 minutes)

Launch talk video on GOMA YouTube  (19 minutes) 

Invisible Octopus Poem

There are many many photos, comments, reviews etc shared on my FACEBOOK page during the exhibition time. I hope you can view the posts there, if you wish.

Radio: To listen to radio podcast with WLR FM’s WLR FM’s Geoff Harris, Caroline Schofield, and me, recorded in the Treehouse on 23rd January 2023 aired on the 24th at ‘On the Fringe’ Arts program (15 minutes) 

Maeve Butler from WHAT spoke with Geoff Harris with great passion as well as an informative reflective invitation to experience the exhibition on the 17th January To listen back go to listen back choose date: 17-01-2023  ‘The Lunchbox’ 12:00-13:00  section. It starts at approximately 32 minutes in, just over (7 minutes).

Thank you to Waterford News & Star and Munster Express for wide coverage of the exhibition. And all the support, images and reflections shared in person and on social media from many many people. Including the Worldwide ME Communities. ME International newsletter February 2023; ME Global: ‘I brought the Dream of flying’ Dec. 2022 issue of the ME Global Chronicle. And ME Global Chronicle #44 A word of thanks: ME Advocates Ireland Facebook page 

My deepest gratitude.

Looking a bit deeper:

17 December 2022 I published my blog post ‘600 days (in care) reflecting on life in care and the then upcoming exhibition:  

May 2021 I wrote about Moving into the TreeHouse

Videos on Youtube

COPIED FROM MY WEBSITE (for access during the maintenance of same)


Over the past two decades Corina Duyn’s journey has been well documented in video and voice. Here just a selection of Puppetry, Poetry, Writing, Lectures and Podcasts by and about Corina Duyn’s work. To avail of the highest resolution option I’d suggest to watch directly on Youtube – go to the ‘Videos’ option to see all. 

*Note to people with Severe ME * SEE BELOW regarding unexpected loud noise…

7 November 2023. A short video (7 min.) created for the Nursing Home Ireland Care award nomination and shortlist.

Lectures and ‘Invisible Octopus’

Corina Duyn Video Lecture  (2021) (00:49 min)  I narrate the story of my creative journey. Illustrated with many images. Main focus is on the role of puppetry in exploring my own life with chronic illness and disability but also how puppetry is a valuable tool to bring greater awareness of disability. 
The video is divided up in several sections so can be viewed over time. English and Spanish subtitles available. Transcript available on request. A related BLOG link about the then 23 year long creative journey .

Invisible Octopus’ Poem and art by Corina Duyn (2020) (02:13min) With English, Spanish, Dutch, French and German subtitles. Also see poem page Visiting ‘Ribbon of Light’ (2020) (06:00 min) which was a shared exhibition with Anna Moore, RIP, showcasing my ‘Invisible Octopus’ works. The exhibition closed a day after opening due to Covid 19 restrictions, and never reopened.

Puppetry & Disability lecture at Cork Puppetry Festival (2018)(28:24) Funded by Cork Puppetry Festival research fund.

Puppetry videos

Póilin’s Travels with ME. (2018) (05.51) The story of making a more accessible puppet Póilin as well as our joined travels to the UK for Puppetry and Disability Talks at Nottingham Puppetry Festival, Keynote speaker at ‘The Broken Puppet 2 in Bath, and meeting other puppeteers and makers. 

The Reflection Girls (2018) (02.35)is a very short introduction of story of facing one’s reality. These puppets were in 2019/20 the subject of a proposed Puppetry film about life with ME. Due to limitations of my body, this story was eventually brought to life using shadow puppetry. ‘Invisible Octopus’. See a short abstract of ‘Invisible Octopus using the puppets .

The Dance of Life (2014) (0:56) Two animation figures. The interdependence of life. Was intended to be a much longer animation which hasn’t happened yet. First published on Vimeo in 2014  as The Dance of Life – by Corina Duyn (preview) 

Life Outside the Box and Nationwide

In 2015 I started working with fellow members at the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) on what became the Life Outside the Box Puppet Project  (04.21min) was funded by Create, Artist in the Community Scheme. This project was followed by an exhibition with work by our group: Dis- ability This Ability  Exhibition Launch Talk by MEP Grace O’Sullivan. Our short film was adapted for inclusion in ‘People’s Angelus’ on RTE tv and is aired  once every three months. 

Fit to Fly and Flight Path

Fit to Fly Documentary by David Begley (2003) about the early years of living with M.E. In two parts Fit to Fly part I (08:06)  Fit to Fly – Part II (07:03). (Please note that the first video starts with black screen for a few seconds) Funded by Arts & Disability Forum. This story was adapted by RTE Nationwide team and aired in  2003. This is included in this link which has both episodes (13:36). A follow up was recorded by Nationwidein 2018. (07:27)

Flight Path by Katie Lincoln (2006) 06:05) was created to accompany my first book Hatched / Funded by Arts Council of Ireland and Waterford County Council. 

Into the Light – book in a box

Into the Light – book in a box (2015) I finished a writing and art project I had worked on for years. Introduction video  (2.29min)while book in the making with help of a Rehab Grant. See book page: Into the Light    And Video of finished book.

Book launch (2015) (08:57) with Michael Harding at Dzogchen Beara (Abstract). Filmed and edited by Adrian Duyn.

For ME Awareness Day organised by ME Advocates Ireland in 2020, three well know Irish Writers and poets recited one poem each from Into the Light: St. Stanislaus Kennedy, Michael Harding, and Nuala O’Connor  (04.57).


Podcast created from interview with Emma Windsor, Puppet Place (2020) (24.27 min) in 7 small sections or can be viewed as one HERE  see same channel to watch each section separately.

Puppet making course 

After years of teaching in my studio, and later supporting students online, all my puppet making videos and accompanying online books are now free to access. See HERE for all the links. The videos are now listed as public on my YouTube channel. The videos and online ISSUU documentsare interchangeable to follow the course. Sculpting head, hands, cheer maing the body, painting instructions and how to use the puppet. Instructions also for doll or bust making.


*Note to people with Severe ME * regarding unexpected loud noise: I don’t use music in my videos. Or unexpected loud sounds. Most are just voice and nature sounds.  However in the ‘Life Outside the Box’ video which also features in the Lectures, there is a short section of Irish Traditional Music about 4 minutes in, during the scene of the puppets in the shopping centre, dancing. ‘Fit to Fly’ contains some gently music.  Some videos have subtitles, some even in various languages.  It goes with it saying that I have no control over the Of course Youtube now starts with noisy ads.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Nursing Home Ireland Care Award shortlist

Dear all. 

My last post here was in December 2022.  Writing since then only happened in scribbles and in my head.   The last few months have been tough, both mentally and physically with increased and ‘new’ illness and further creative challenges as my hands just didn’t want to do what my mind wanted. Even with help. It brought me to a great sense of loss. Of grieving.

But this weekend I made sense of some of my scribbles, mostly in relation to being nomination and shortlisted for a Nursing Home Care Award. The only resident in the list of 24. I didn’t make the final 8, but I am hugely proud of having made the shortlist. And having had a few friends from different parts of my life, including my brother at a small celebration in the library here at the home. And all the beautiful messages via facebook and privately.  Staff were great to put up a lovely table with snacks and drinks. We even had a non-alcoholic- bubbly. 

I wrote the words below - and made a little video.  7.13 minutes:  which has subtitles in English and Spanish  (click on the little wheel top right on YouTube page and choose Captions - choose language)

Edit:  For Spanish Translation of my words see at bottom of this page. Kindly supplied by Myriam Pincheira (Myli) in Chile, who also uploaded my video and subtitles in English and Spanish. Very grateful. 

I must say I am very happy to have been able to access my brain again. I can still write. ‘I am back…’ and to celebrate all this in the company of many. Thank you.

Nomination thoughts NHI Care Awards - Corina Duyn 7 November 2023

Chronic illness, in my case 25 years of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is a curious thing. I can’t predict or plan in advance how I will be on any given day or moment. I certainly would not have been able to travel to Dublin for the ceremony day, but I am with you all in spirit. 

So with a small gathering we are celebrating the achievement of being nominated and shortlisted with a few friends, family, and staff here at Signacare Nursing home. To ease my mind I decided to write (and record) a few words in advance in the possibility of being one of the winners and am asked to say a few words. I could be well, or too shook, or overwhelmed to express my thoughts or make my voice audible.

First of all I am hugely honoured to have been nominated by Anne Fraher and to be chosen by the selection team to make it onto the short list of Nursing Homes Ireland Care Awards. Huge congratulations to all nominees.

The many complex emotions which followed the notification are difficult to describe in a few words. But narrowing down the thoughts this Award is for me about Celebration and Hope. 


Celebrating 25 years of my observing, questioning, and creative mind which has kept me alive during unrelenting illness.  As my life becomes increasingly smaller - my room - my mind - through my voice, art, words, and puppetry I have accidentally reached minds all over the world. I am deeply grateful for the continued and new company along the way.

When I had to move into care in April 2021, aged just 59, as support at home wasn’t sustainable and safe I vowed to quieten my creative mind to explore my life, and just have fun making things.  However through the support of Waterford Healing Arts’ Maeve Butler and my co-artist Caroline Schofield’s hands and our shared minds, I did end up exploring this epic move into care. This resulted in the I brought the dream of flying exhibition at GOMA in Waterford and Creative Brain Week in Dublin (2023). It even brought WHO’s Arts & Health Lead Christopher Bailey to visit me in my room. My ‘Treehouse’.

In this exhibition we showcased that a collaborative arts practice is possible in a small nursing home room as well as sharing my perspective of moving and living in care. 


I truly hope that I can be a voice for others, including the younger people in nursing home care who might not be able to express their experiences, wishes, hopes and dreams; to in some way represent my fellow nursing home residents at Signacare and others all over Ireland. And to contribute to the discussion of what living in care means. 

As I trained and worked in similar institutions I see life from all these perspectives. 

Living here I came to understand more fully that perhaps the most important asset is Being Present. That caring is two fold. A communication between residents and staff, both in verbal and non-verbal ways. To observe, listen, and know about each other’s lives. The life we lived before moving into care, and coping with loss of our autonomy. For staff their life now and plans for the future.

What ‘Home’ means remains a daily question during observations from my bed or recliner of life around me and in my own existence. I don’t watch tv, listen to radio or read the paper (I can’t do any of these). Just me and my thoughts while looking at nature and life outside my ‘Treehouse’. The birds, changing seasons, the hens and ducky. Residents of course. I learn from all. I see strength in fragility in a world where loss and pain live alongside beauty and hope.

Due to increasing illness I am no longer able to create work but continue to share my creative mind. For my own well-being and that of my fellow residents, I have created sensory gardens in the raised flower beds. I suggest ideas to activities coordinators including the almost finalised ‘Hands of Signacare’: A photographic project involving all residents.  It warms my heart to hear and read the responses to these projects from residents and their families. 

Since the announcement of the nomination I have received a lot of support in person and online. Without you all I wouldn’t be here today. My deepest gratitude for this unrelenting believe in me, my story, my work, as is evident here today.

To finish with a few wise words from a fellow resident who lives here due to his dementia. We always connect. One day he asked me, pointing at my powered wheelchair: 

“What happened to you?” 

My body gave up.

“But your mind did not.”

Thank you.


Further reading:

Added: Spanish Translation supplied by Myriam Pincheira (Myli) in Chile, who also uploaded my video and subtitles in English and Spanish. Very grateful 

Nominada y Seleccionada para el Premio a las Residenciales de Cuidado en Irlanda




Mi último post fue el 22 de diciembre. Escribir, desde entonces, solo ocurría en borradores, en mi mente. Los últimos meses han sido duros: mental y físicamente hablando debido al aumento de enfermedades "nuevas." Por ello, los desafíos creativos han sido aún más elevados; mis manos simplemente ya no quieren hacer lo que mi mente sí. Incluso con ayuda. Esto me condujo a una gran sensación de perdida; de duelo.


Sin embargo, este fin de semana, los borradores en mi mente cobraron sentido; les di forma; principalmente en relación al hecho de haber sido nominada y luego seleccionada como finalista de los premios NHI otorgados a las Residenciales de Cuidado en Irlanda.


Soy la única residente de una lista de 24 nominados y, si bien no estuve dentro de los 8 finalistas, estoy enormemente orgullosa de haber sido nombrada, de haber tenido junto a mí a algunos amigos de diversas etapas de mi vida, incluido mi hermano, en una pequeña celebración en la biblioteca de acá, de casa y de todos los hermosos mensajes que recibí vía Facebook y en forma privada. 


Los miembros del personal de la residencial fueron geniales; pusieron una mesa adorable con algunos bocadillos y bebidas; teníamos incluso un espumante sin alcohol.


Escribí estas palabras (acá abajo) y también realicé un video breve el que tiene subtítulos que pueden activar; en Inglés y en Español.


Corina Duyn en su Casa del Árbol

Debo decir que estoy muy feliz de tener la capacidad de acceder a mi cerebro otra vez. Puedo escribir “Estoy de regreso” y celebrarlo en compañía de muchos.


A ustedes, gracias.





Nominación a los premios NHI Residencial de Cuidados.

Corina Duyn

Noviembre 07 de 2023.


Una enfermedad crónica, 25 años de Encefalomielitis Mialgia (EM) en mi caso, es una cosa curiosa. No puedo predecir o bien planificar de antemano cómo estaré un día o bien en un momento determinado. 

Ciertamente, no  habría sido capaz de viajar a Dublin para el día de la ceremonia; pero estoy totalmente junto a todos ustedes en espíritu.


Con una pequeña reunión junto a la familia, algunos amigos y el equipo de la Residencial de Cuidados Signacare, estamos celebrando el logro de haber sido nominada y luego seleccionada. Para apaciguar mi mente, decidí escribir (y grabar) algunas palabras de antemano contemplando que podrían pedírmelo si resultara ser una de las ganadoras. Para ese entonces, podría haberme sentido bien; o demasiado conmocionada o quizá muy abrumada como para expresar mis pensamientos y hacer uso de una voz clara; audible.


En primer lugar, me siento enormemente honrada de haber sido nominada por Anne Fraherseleccionada por los miembros del jurado del concurso de Residenciales de Cuidado en Irlanda. 


Mis felicitaciones a todos los nominados.


Muchas de las complejas emociones que vinieron a mi tras la notificación son difíciles de describir en pocas palabras. Eso si -Celebración y Esperanza- sintetizan los pensamientos que tengo sobre este premio.





Celebrando 25 años de mi mente contemplativa, cuestionadora y creativa – la que me ha mantenido con vida durante esta enfermedad implacable.


A medida que mi vida se hace más pequeña – mi habitación, mi mente, la expresión de mi voz, arte, palabras y muñecos; he, accidentalmente, alcanzado mentes alrededor de todo el mundo. Estoy profundamente agradecida por las continuay nuevas compañías que se han mantenido a lo largo del camino.


Cuando tuve que mudarme a la residencial de cuidados aquel abril del 2021, teniendo tan solo 59 y debido a que el apoyo en casa no era sostenible ni seguro, me comprometí a apaciguar mi mente creativa, explorar mi vida y simplemente divertirme haciendo cosas.


Sin embargo, gracias al apoyo de Waterford Healing Arts´, Maeve Butler, las manos de mi co-artista Caroline Schoefield, además de nuestras mentes compartidas, terminé explorando está mudanza épica. El resultado, la exhibición de “I brought the dream of flying” (Traje el sueño de Volar) en GOMA, Waterford y durante la Creative Brain Week en el año 2023, Dublin. Estos sucesos llevaron incluso al director de WHO’s Arts & Health Christopher Bailey a visitarme en mi habitación; es decir, en mi casa del árbol.


En esta exhibición, demostramos que la práctica del arte colaborativo es posible en la pequeña habitación de una residencial de cuidados así como también el compartir mi perspectiva de mudarme y vivir al cuidado de otros.




Sinceramente tengo la esperanza de ser la voz de otros; incluyendo a los jóvenes que llegan a las  residenciales de cuidado y que puede que no sean capaces de relatar sus experiencias, anhelos, esperanzas y sueños; de alguna manera, representar a mis compañeros residentes en Signacare o bien otras residenciales en toda Irlanda; contribuir a la discusión de lo que significa vivir en éstos lugares.

Debido a que trabajé y me capacité en instituciones similares a éstas; veo la vida desde todos éstos puntos de vista.


Vivir acá me llevó a comprender más en profundidad que quizá la mayor ganancia es estar presente y que el cuidado tiene también dos aspectos: una comunicación que entre los residentes y el equipo de cuidadores sea tanto verbal como no verbal. Observar, escuchar y conocer sobre la vida de cada uno de manera reciproca; la vida que vivimos antes de mudarnos a la residencial de cuidados, y cómo fue lidiar con la pérdida de nuestra propia autonomía. Sus vidas; las de ahora y los planes para el futuro.


Lo que la palabra “Casa” significa es una pregunta que permanece diariamente; durante las observaciones desde mi cama o la silla reclinable, de la vida a mi alrededor y en mi propia existencia. 


No veo televisión, tampoco escucho la radio o leo los diarios (no puedo hacer nada de esto) Solo yo y mis pensamientos mientras miro la naturaleza y la vida fuera de mi “casa del árbol” 


Los pájaros, el cambio de estaciones, las gallinas y Ducky. Residentes, por supuesto. Aprendo de todo ello. Veo fortaleza en la fragilidad en un mundo donde la pérdida y el dolor viven paralelo a la belleza y la esperanza


Debido al avance de mi enfermedad, ya no soy capaz de crear trabajos, pero sigo compartiendo mi mente creativa. Para mi propio bienestar y el de mis compañeros residentes, he creado jardines sensoriales en las camas florales elevadas. Sugiero ideas a los coordinadores de actividades, como el proyecto que estamos a punto de finalizar llamado “Las Manos de Signacare” un proyecto fotográfico que involucra a todos los residentes. Me alegra el corazón leer y recibir los comentarios de esta realización tanto de los residentes como de sus familias.



Desde que me notificaron sobre la nominación, he recibido apoyo presencial y online. Sin todos ustedes, yo no estaría aquí hoy. Mi más profunda gratitud por creer firmemente en mí, en mi historia y mi trabajo, como es evidente.


Para terminar, las breves y sabias palabras de un compañero quien vive acá debido a su demencia. Siempre conectamos. 


Un día me preguntó -apuntando a mi silla de ruedas:


- ¿Qué te ocurrió?


Mi cuerpo se rindió.


- Pero tu mente no.






Saturday, December 17, 2022

Six hundred days

Six hundred days ago I moved into long term care and I ‘brought the dream of flying’

Corina Duyn in wheelchair holding sunlight in her hand In conversation with my co-artist Caroline Schofield  Photo © Keith Currams
In conversation with my co-artist Caroline Schofield 
Photo © Keith Currams

I wake early and revel in the silence. I open the curtains and see the world awaken. The trees, birds, early squirrels. One of my favourite moments before the inevitable noises start in the hallway from staff, doors, and various televisions at volume. In those early mornings I imagine my home, my  Treehouse * to be unrelated to be in a nursing home. What Home means remains a very complicated question. 

After my daily bowl of readybrek reality sets in. I often listen to meditative music, through headphones if necessary, especially on days when I am a bit ‘frazzled’ about the prospect of the day ahead. I know the signs by now after 600 days living in a residential home.  The day can be caring, chaotic, safe, kind, restrictive, fun, fearful, unsettling, sad, happy, bewildering, finding acceptance and gratitude, as well as thought provoking moments due to the closeness of fragility and beauty of life around me and in me. It seems I am still learning to find my way, but ultimately know that I have to ‘get this’.


As my short day ends I watch the crows gather for the night. Every day a few minutes earlier. Headphones on to silence the noises of the house my thoughts go deep. It is at those moments I feel I need to write to make sense of life as it is right now. But writing on paper is not possible anymore beyond a few words. I scribble on my phone at times, creatively processing my experiences but as screen time is overwhelming my phone is often turned off. The words I did write/dictated are copied to my iPad however words jump around in a dizzying way and sadly I lose track in order to edit and make sense of the notes. Yet I keep telling myself to write that blogpost about what it is like to live here. I started so many times but realise that each day each minute it would be a different story. Anyway. I am here. It is going to take me a while. But I am going to do this and will, as usual, be explored through my creative mind. The writing perhaps a little frazzled and fragmented like my present jumbled brain.

“I identify deeply with my work especially my puppets. 
Creating them is one thing. By fully observing them
 I am learning to understand their true stories and thus my own.”

Puppet with black hat lying under orange blanket asleep. Hands folded. Corina Duyn
‘Miracle Miracle’ 
© Corina Duyn 2018-2022

Miracle Miracle 

In a roundabout way of dealing with the reality of also needing help to make a Christmas/Winter display for my room, I found my mind delving into the story of my puppet Miracle Miracle resting under the (Christmas) tree.

When I started making her in 2018 she was to tell a story of an ambulant wheelchair user. Perhaps her chair being pushed by a gay carer with a blue Mohican haircut. Throwing off her blanket she steps out of her wheelchair and with the help of her walking sticks takes off on her colourful roller skates. Revealing funky clothes. 

I had hoped to use puppetry to explore social perception and disadvantage but also resilience. Most of all challenge how you are are to behave as a disabled person. If you use a wheelchair, you are not suppose to stand up. “Miracle Miracle” a dear friend roared in fun a few decades ago when I did just that. Standing up from my wheelchair in front of a church. Miracle Miracle’s story was never properly told except the concept during my last public lecture in 2018 in Cork.  

Miracle Miracle came with me to Signacare; unpainted, undressed, just wearing a little black hat (toe part of sock) and wrapped in her orange blanket. She had been sitting with Póilin Puppet in my window on the bench looking into the garden. I always hoped to finish making her.


In March after a short spell in hospital I started stitching a long cloth. “Sewing the tears of exhaustion” I scribbled on a piece of paper. Stitching brought peace. Over the following months it told a story of drowning, reaching out and becoming the tree. I stopped sewing at the point a branch became a bird. It narrowly escaped to be binned, choosing to put it in my sewing drawer instead. In July one Sunday afternoon I took it out, folded it up, reincarnated as a magic flying carpet for Miracle Miracle. I was happy to see a new story appearing from two unfinished works.  

Lying on my dresser Miracle Miracle looked at peace at having given up her fight for social justice to look after herself and rest. Only covered by a thin blanket. Unpainted, undressed. But beautiful as she is. To be carried in the wind to dream worlds where life is simpler. Still wearing her roller skates she shows resilience in her vulnerability as a dear friend told me.

It took me almost five months of observing her resting on her flying carpet to come to the point I acknowledged that I too am ready to let go and am desperately in need of rest. 


Staff at times have limited ability to truly be Present so I am very grateful for the support of family and friends. I also have the great fortune to receive outside support from a Personal Assistant (PA) twice a week through Disability Support Services (as I am deemed inappropriately placed in nursing home care due to my age), as well working with artist Caroline Schofield through Waterford Healing Arts Trust. Both women have made living here much more doable. 

With co-artist Caroline Schofield in the elevator 
at Signacare - retrieving puppet props
Photo © Caroline Schofield 2022

The collaborative creative process with artist Caroline Schofield started in August 2021. (See exhibition press release *).  Finding our way of working together began with making stunning prints using leaves. Many of these made their way, together with paper cut outs of shadow puppetry * era into a series of art boxes. Dioramas if you wish. Many depicting loss, grieve and gain of moving into care. Perhaps these works which will be in the exhibition say more than the written word ever can. 

I tried very hard not to use our creative time to explore this epic move but my mind wouldn’t let it go until it was done. Now I can say that I am glad it worked out this way. Work evolved by communicating about the pieces and stories in progress. Until there is this ‘Yes!, this is it’ moment. Caroline was/is my hands to add the detail about which I could only think and tried out with blue tack or masking tape. 

Some of this series of small boxes have taken a year to complete. Along the way we had tears, laughter, wonderment, friendship, and learning, evolving into an exhibition. 

I brought the dream of flying

One of these ‘boxes’ became the title of this shared exhibition: ‘I brought the dream of flying’ Opening 14th January 2023 at Gallery of Modern Art - GOMA Waterford, with amazing support of Waterford Healing Arts Trust and Creative Waterford.

When I came for respite 600 days ago - but never went home again -  I had brought an unfinished bird puppet with me. I felt that by finishing the piece, which had one broken wing, it would be a symbol that I would fly again. I and others had truly hoped that moving into care would restore my health to some degree. Including recovering my lost creative abilities. For this hope and dream I brought my clay and all the tools. Not used for four years now, I am ready to let go of them.  

My creative ability is ever evolving at the same pace of my physical decline. I lost lots of weight over the past two years. As well as more and more of my independence. Food is puréed as I can’t chew or swallow for long. I now have a powerful fully reclining wheelchair. Walking is a few steps to the bathroom. Not even every day. My hands, although the dancing motions are a fascination to my co-artist, they often don’t want to do what I would like them to do. Creatively and in general. Recently my body goes ‘numb’ for hours. Followed by slow return of movement and speech and precious moments of the Phoenix rising again, Especially when I have an outing with my PA, those moments are lived and loved with all my heart. Then I rest. Like Miracle Miracle. In those moment of rest, even in the ‘numbness’, my creative mind stays alive. Thinking, planning. Re-thinking. Re-planning. 

I can cut paper and I can glue. The result is a series of A5 collages from newspaper words and found images, which I can make independently, often lying flat in bed. Exploring emotions and realities of life (here). As friends have said: “you needed to write, you couldn’t, now you found your way”; another said “you are writing a visual diary”. Many will be in the exhibition.


“In bed I cut words until I can rest in a world 

where loss and pain live alongside beauty and hope”

Collage © Corina Duyn 2022

Although the exhibition is a huge event for me mentally and physically it is a true honour to have this team of people believing in my work and a story they felt needed to be told. A team of creative professionals looking after everything. Wow. A first.


I feel I am finally reaching moments of being at peace with it all. Letting go of the ‘idea of home’. Letting go of this part of my story as well as my work, old and new. Especially after the exhibition I hope to feel my ‘job is done’. My advocacy having continued although I didn’t intended to do that. I hope I can be at peace and find ease with living in long term care doing so in undoubtedly a beautiful room. My Treehouse. Rest. Rest in the knowledge and acceptance that this is what I had to do. Moving into care and one last sharing of life with illness and this new perspective of life in care through the arts. A first perhaps.

Thanking you with much gratitude for your continued support.

Corina Duyn
17 December 2022 

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