We are pleased to present Ostara, an exhibition of recent works by artist Freya Pocklington opening on January 20th 2022. Named after an Anglo-Saxon goddess and festival of rebirth and new beginnings, Ostara explores the transformative experience of parenthood including fertility, pregnancy and becoming a new mother. The images and texts narrate the waves of both happiness and anguish through shadowy dark nights and intense days, both at home and in the medical environments.
Freya Pocklington is currently undertaking an MPhil at The Royal College of Art. Her research considers the interaction of medical staff and the patient within appointments, medical theatre and postpartum settings. Her approach utilises self-portraiture and draws upon her own lived experience as someone with long-term health conditions going through the process of having a child. She uses self-portraiture to scrutinise her experience as a patient and the role it can play in aiding communication between specialist and non-specialist. She explores the use of metaphor to convey difficult and complex experiences, such as a biopsy, theatre operations and the understanding of medical terminology. She draws parallels between art practice and medical practice, findings ways to bridge the divide and develop the doctor-patient relationship.
Interwoven into this research, she draws upon her connections with Lancashire, exploring its folklore and histories, in particular the Pendle witch trials in 1612. Pocklington weaves this imagery through her work to draw parallels and seeks metaphors for both the ‘unwell woman’ and the role of plants and ritual in healing. Witches companions, known as ‘familiars’ are featured in several images, these are depicted as animals and represent metaphors for healing, linking to new medical research indicating the positive impact that animal companionship can have on our mental and physical health.