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Exhibition for art student who feared she might not paint again


Above: Mareika pictured with consultants Edward Crawfurd (left) and Alistair Jepson.

Four years ago, Mareika Gillett lay critically ill and unconscious in A&E with a shattered pelvis, fractured spine, broken bones in every limb and shattered facial bones after a car drove through a red light and hit her as she crossed a road, just five weeks into her first year as a fine art student.

Last Thursday, the 23-year-old University of Northampton student met up with some of the medical staff who help her rebuild her life at an exhibition of her degree work inspired by her experience as a patient. 

Following the initial treatment to save her life, Mareika faced a daunting road to recovery involving five separate operations, specialist treatment to repair nerve damage in her arm and intensive physiotherapy as she learned to walk again.

She was eventually able to return to university and complete her Fine Art Painting and Drawing Degree. Last week, Mareika exhibited her work along with other students at the University of Northampton’s final degree exhibition - and invited hospital staff who had been involved in her treatment. 

Mareika said: “After the accident, I didn’t know if I’d be able to paint or produce art again. The recovery process is an ongoing struggle and it is quite hard to deal with on a daily basis. I’ve based a lot of my coursework on the accident and my treatment and that’s been a self-healing process for me. I’d like to work as an art psychotherapist because I do have a huge interest in art, medicine and science and if I can use my experience to help other people, that would be very rewarding.” 


Mareika’s art and her degree dissertation explore the use of medical interventions and science on the human body. The exhibition includes a video installation incorporating photographs taken during her most recent surgery.

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Alistair Jepson said: “I was thrilled to receive an invitation to view Mareika’s exhibition; it’s so nice to be remembered and appreciated. 

“I remember Mareika’s injuries well, as I was the consultant on call the day she was admitted – she had multiple fractures and her exhibition reflects the severity of these, including some very hard hitting including photographs of the vehicle that hit her and the aftermath of her multiple operations. 

“She has shown tremendous determination in recovering from these injuries and her interest in things medical and in healing is clearly demonstrated in her work, which was really of a high standard and very enjoyable to see.”

Trauma Orthopaedic Consultant Edward Crawfurd said:  "It was a joy to see Mareika's work which demonstrated her ability to combine anatomical and scientific concepts to produce fascinating works of art.  It was wonderful to see how, through her determination to get better, she has made a great recovery and used the experience to the benefit of her work."

The exhibition is open to the public and runs during the day until Sunday 21st June  at the University of Northampton’s St George's Avenue Campus. 

Posted on Monday 15th June 2015
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