Patricia Fortlage

Zebra - A Chronic Illness Fine Art Story
Location: San Diego
Nationality: US
Biography: Patricia Fortlage is a female empowerment photographic long-form storyteller and fine art photographer.  From her core belief that if you invest in women and girls, entire communities will be raised, Patricia has focused much of her... read on
Public Story
Zebra - A Chronic Illness Fine Art Story
Credits: patricia fortlage
Date of Work: 08/19/15 - Ongoing
Updated: 06/07/20
Location: San Diego
A chronic illness is a debilitating condition that is generally incurable and ongoing.  It is something that becomes a part of your being.  You can’t escape it; you can only hope to lessen its effects.  Most chronic diseases do not have definitive tests so determining what you are fighting can be one of the most frustrating challenges.  And because we do not have clear definitions of diseases, or precise tests, and certainly few cures… making sense of it can be virtually impossible.   It is beyond a struggle.  It is a battle.  A battle for which you are likely restricted to fight.  Your armaments are minimal.

Zebra is what a patient is called when their disability does not fit the definition of a well understood disease. And because they are rare, they are often misunderstood and misdirected… if not dismissed altogether. One becomes trapped in a body that has betrayed them.

Patterns in ice can be fairly consistent as the liquid freezes, but when different pressures are exerted, anomalies occur. Zebras. For this fine art project, I am spending time manipulating liquid during the freezing process in an effort to highlight the rarity of disease and what that experience feels like to an individual. Pain. Powerlessness. Being shamed. Isolation. Well-meaning advice. Dismissal. Despair.   

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