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Tanya Duckworth is an artist and neuroscientist based in Sydney, Australia. Her current work as an artist spans commercial portrait illustration, and watercolour portraiture exploring the pain and emotion associated with women’s experiences of endometriosis.
Tanya attended art school at the University of Newcastle and San Antonio College and has exhibited both locally and internationally, including in Sydney, the NSW Central Coast, Newcastle, New York City; San Antonio (Texas). In 2015, her photographic portraiture work was exhibited at a Gala event at the Louvre in Paris for The Exposure Award and was published in The Body Collection catalogue from the event.
She is currently working on a series of emotive watercolour portraits illustrating the raw pain and emotion, in the facial expressions of women during an endometriosis flareup. “I want to bring attention to the debilitating pain experienced by those suffering with the disease, and I don’t think people truly understand and empathise, until they witness it for themselves. These portraits show the confronting reality and make it difficult to deny that this pain is real, and it is devastatingly cruel.” The project will culminate in the exhibition and book “Endo Illustrated”, conveying the stories of each of the women along with their portrait, to help with raising awareness and education about endometriosis.
Working in medical research for 10 years (primarily in genetics and neurodegenerative disease), Tanya has recently started advising on endometriosis research after returning to work after an 18-month incapacity from her own experience with endometriosis. “After an 11-year delay in diagnosis, multiple specialists, four surgeries and having to leave the work I love due to severe disabling pain prior to my last surgery, I decided it is important to combine my research skills along with my own experiences to help improve the quality and relevance of research on endometriosis.”
Tanya is currently a PhD Scholar in Medicine (Neuroscience) at the University of Adelaide, working with Dr. Carolyn Semmler of the Applied Cognition and Experimental Psychology (ACEP) research group; Dr. Fiona Kerr of The Neurotech Institute and Dr. Balder Onarheim of the Copenhagen Institute of NeuroCreativity & PlatoScience, examining the effects of creativity on neuroplasticity and cognition in adults with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).