“Most of Corina Duyn’s work reflects her own life and living with ME and communicates this with extraordinary clarity, visually and intellectually.”
Maeve Butler, Assistant Director Waterford Healing Arts Trust
Looking back over my (creative) life, I realise that my love and need to use my creative mind stems back to my early childhood in the Netherlands. The lack of funds for materials or a formal arts education led to freedom of expression as well as not having any constraints in the ‘proper’ use of materials or work methods. I realise that this is still evident in my work today.
Although trained and working as a care-nurse and social care worker, I became a full time artist after my move to Ireland in 1989. Fantasy Folk Artist Dolls quickly became collectors items and led to private and corporate commissions in Ireland and around the globe.
The sudden start and rapid decline in health due to the debilitating illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) * at the age of 36 (1998) changed my creative ability, intensity and output. My previous work a reflection on Irish folklore quickly changed to exploring the internal landscape of illness. Mainly out of a necessity to find a way forward within my utterly changed life.
Read or view my creative journey
- Writing showcases my various published books as well as links to my blog writing.
- Art contains glimpses of three decades of creativity shared via slideshows.
* See also the ‘I brought the dream of flying’ exhibition details. The result of the collaborative arts process in my nursing home room with Caroline Schofield. Supported by WHAT, GOMA and Creative Waterford. Exhibition toured to ‘Creative Brain Week’ at the Naughton Institute – Trinity College Dublin See Full Case Study on Arts + Health.ie from early collaboration to exhibition in Waterford, Dublin and creative life beyond. (Published 1 June 2023)
- I had been nominated and shortlisted for a Nursing Home Ireland Award. I wrote a few words, see my BLOG and recorded a video see YouTube (7 min.)
- Puppetry explores how this exciting and accessible medium became an important tool to share my story. Including ‘Invisible Octopus’ poem.
- Video page contains links to books, poetry, documentaries, lectures and puppetry films. Including the most comprehensive creative overview: a 49 minute VIDEO LECTURE (2021). Through voice and images it takes a glimpse of my previous work which ultimately led to the use of puppetry. I share my very personal journey of learning and understanding my own existence as a chronically ill and disabled artist, but also a critical view on how puppetry became a tool to bring greater understanding in social terms. Latest video is in relation to living in care
- Blog is with more in-depth stories for example the ‘Octopus’ theme explored; the puppet making course access details and some recent writing, like 600 days (December 22)living in care seen through my creative mind and art. And my thoughts on living in care for the Nursing Homes Irelands Awards nomination November ‘23
- Other links: My Contact page; If of interest, my creative CV; I am honoured to have my work Cited in: many Thesis etc; and link to Facebook and Instagram although not often there.
As health continued to deteriorate and care at home was not sufficient to remain living independently I made the incredibly difficult decision to move into full time nursing home care. In late April 2021 I moved into what I call my ‘Tree House’ age 59. I needed to do this to keep a hold on the narrative of my life.
After a year I am witnessing how my creative mind is becoming accessible again. I wish to express my immense gratitude towards Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) whom recognised the need for me to explore this new chapter in my life.
“Even in her ever shrinking world, Corina continues to surprise me with the different ways she relates to her changing situation.”
Christine Blom at launch of ‘Blij dat ik besta’ Tobi Vroegh publishers
Creative Support & Collaboration
Collaborating with my co-artist was for both of us a big learning experience: to understand our different arts practices as well as finding ways to work together. While I slowly accepted to ‘use of her hands’ to create my ideas we brought many into being. Our connection often changed the direction of the works, as well as fine tuning them. A beautiful collaboration.
“It is our privilege to be able to support this incredible, curious, thoughtful, direct, pragmatic and good humoured artist to continue her creative life, which is essential to her wellbeing.”
Maeve Butler, Assistant Director Waterford Healing Arts Trust
As a result of this support, and perhaps finally finding a level of acceptance again of daily challenges of illness, as well as finding my way to live in care, I am also doing some creative work on my own. All these small works are being created within the confines of my nursing home room, which is my ‘home’, my studio, my sanctuary. My main creative objective is to use whatever materials I have available in my room. From covers of notebooks, a small sweet tin, buttons, scraps of fabric, to boxes of any kind. “Use everything – use everything wisely – everything has significance.” (Ben Okri, Dangerous Love). Just like I did as a child. As well altering older work given them a new life. Just like me. These works were subject to public exhibitions. See ‘I brought the dream of flying’.
I am so immensely privileged to have received and continue to receive support to live and create. From people I know to the many people in ‘cyberspace’; to new friends, as well as Arts, Health, Puppetry, and Disability organisations. The various Arts Grants and purchases of my work were invaluable in enabling me to create new books and art to share my experiences. (Details on the related pages). Thank you also to Brendan Holmes for supporting me to update my website to reflect the ‘now’ of my (creative) life.
I hope you enjoy exploring my website and my blog. Thank you for joining me on my journey through life.
Signacare, July 2022, updated February 2023
* NOTE on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is a neurological condition which is unfortunately often confused with, or referred to, as ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ (CFS) or ME/CFS. Other incorrect names include ‘Medically Unexplained Symptoms’ (MUS), or ‘Functional Neurological Disorder’. To learn more about ME, please visit ME Advocates Ireland Blog