‘Silent at Heart’ – Local artist launches lifesaving art in the heart of London

4th September 2007

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An emotive new art exhibition (which opened on Monday at a prestigious Mayfair gallery) is helping to raise awareness of a tragic cardiac condition, known as sudden cardiac death – which claims the lives of at least 8 young people every week in the UK – by showcasing a range of pioneering works, reflecting the heartbreak felt by many young patients and their families.

sah1‘Silent at Heart’ includes the commissioned artworks produced by 5 professional artists and 30 Art, Design and Media A-Level students as part of an innovative arts & biomedicine project. This impressive exhibition of 40 artworks gives visitors a unique insight into the medical investigations designed to identify those at risk of sudden cardiac death.

‘Silent at Heart’ is the brainchild of the Brazilian born Artist and Curator Mauricio Vincenzi (right), whose father died of Sudden Cardiac Death at the age of 32. Mauricio now leads this innovative project from the Beckenham-based South East London Cardiac Network.

Financed by an award from the Wellcome Trust, the project has developed over the last 6 months with a focus on the symptoms and risk factors associated with these rare conditions.

sah2Alison Cox, Founder and Chief Executive of the charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young, says; “This is an absolutely stunning exhibition. I was privileged to be able to go round on my own prior to the launch yesterday and found the artwork of these sixth formers deeply moving and extraordinarily perceptive.

“Their work is innovative using the mediums of painting, photography, textiles, sculpture and illustration. I was overwhelmed with what I saw and indeed at one point found it difficult to continue.

“Congratulations to all involved and a warm appreciation of the enormous amount of work, innovative interpretation and commitment to the young people that participated and their tutors and of course to Mauricio, who translated his story to them in a way that made it so real.”

‘Silent at Heart’ has been developed in partnership with the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

sah3The objective of ‘Silent at Heart’ has been to produce awareness-raising materials (commissioned artworks and short films, a website, interactive game and CD-ROM) aimed at young people and primary care professionals (GPs and nurses).

These aim to highlight the fact that those with family history of sudden cardiac death at a young age (under 35 years old) and specific symptoms should be encouraged to seek further assessment.

The professional artists along with the students from Christ The King Sixth Form College, Lewisham, London underwent the screening process for ‘hidden’ cardiac conditions and captured and communicated visually their personal experiences of being screened*.

Dr. Sanjay Sharma, Consultant Cardiologist at Kings College and Lewisham Hospitals, and internationally renowned specialist in the field, has acted as Clinical Lead for the project: “Nobody has actually touched the hearts of parents and school teachers like this project has and I think this is going to be an enormous success and the starting point of many schools wanting to engage in similar activities”.

These rare cardiac conditions are hidden and “silent killers”, but are both preventable, and treatable if young people get tested; this is the underlying message behind ‘Silent at Heart’ – a truly lifesaving exhibition.

“Silent at Heart” featuring commissioned art works by Zoe Childerley, Maire Quinn, Kathy Schicker, Mauricio Vincenzi and Tim Wainwright opens at The Air Gallery (lower gallery) on Monday 3rd September and runs from Tuesday 4th until Saturday 15th September. The Air Gallery is open from 10am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and can be found at 32 Dover Street, London, W1S 4NE, admission is free.

High-resolution images available on request.

– Ends –

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For further information please contact Mauricio Lomba on 07932 410497 / 020 8768 4950 or email: Mauricio.Lomba@lewishampct.nhs.uk

For media information, please call Jo Hudson or Heather Churchouse at Trinity PR on 020 8786 3860 jo.hudson@trinitypr.co.uk

*All those screened where lucky enough to receive an all clear; sadly, during the development of the ‘Silent at Heart’ project an estimated 210 young people in the UK where not as fortunate.

Notes to editors:

Many of the artworks focus on the tragedy of ignorance explored through a wide range of media: contemporary graphic language, traditional and digital photography, film installations, silkscreen and collograph prints. This powerful and complex exhibition also includes 3D interferences in the space, a felt dress, double sided embroidery and a curtained installation creating an enclosed space; an expression by one of the young artists of her feelings of isolation.

One example of the works on show – “Love The Life You Live, Live The Life You Love” (2007) – features a screen print on film and ink jet print on paper by Zoe Childerley, representing both the physical and psychological issues of a potentially fatal condition. The drawings are initiated in the very wires that play a part in the cardiac examinations and form the shapes that relate to the long lives ahead of these young people, mountains to climb and dreams to fulfil.