Odyssey Postcards – Call To Artists

Creative Odyssey Fundraising
Call to artists to donate an original A6 artwork in any medium. Half the funds raised will go to Children with Cancer UK towards their vital research into finding cures and improving treatments for all Childhood Cancers and half will go towards Creative Odyssey Project, a series of community arts lantern/light projects designed to raise all our spirits and developed in response to 11 year old Henry Thomas’s journey through PTSD following 3 years of Leukaemia treatment.


Please send work to Sarah Cannell at the Raveningham Centre, Beccles Road, Raveningham, Norwich, Norfolk, NR14 6NU or drop your artwork in to Mandell’s Gallery, Elm Hill, Norwich. Deadline: February 14th 2020. 

Alternatively you can support our fundraising by purchasing an artwork from the exhibition kindly hosted by Mandells Gallery, Elm Hill, Norwich between 25th – 29th February. All artworks will be available for £40 and will remain anonymous until purchased. More info here.

Lantern Workshops and Parade
The Winter Lantern Parade will take place on March 28th 2020 at Beccles Common and Quay, Suffolk. Paper and willow lanterns will be created by schools and community groups in the Beccles area, UEA students, Brilliant Makers Clubs in association with Access Art in Cambridge across the UK. The Ship of Light, created with sculptors Rachael Long and Andy Jarrett, will be a fire sculpture created to mark the end of the Lantern Parade and will be on display at the Norfolk Makers Festival at the Forum, Norwich. Half of the Creative Odyssey fund-raising will go towards the Winter Lantern Parade and will be spent on: willow lantern and sculpting materials, specialist outdoor lighting, event insurance, workshop artists fees and marketing materials. All event organisation, admin and site costs are covered by volunteers.

Background to The Creative Odyssey
Sarah Cannell – Artist/Curator
Supporting Children with Cancer UK - logo

My son Henry was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) on January 9th 2016 when he had just turned 7. Within 48 hours his whole life had been turned upside down and an ambulance ride to Addenbrookes confirmed his diagnosis with intensive chemotherapy treatment starting immediately. The first 6 months of treatment threw relentless physical and psychological challenges at Henry with hideous side effects from chemo and steroids which caused a lot of pain, weight gain, anger and restricted mobility. 3 years of ‘maintenance’ treatment for boys with ALL means 3 years of daily chemo, weekly antibiotics and blood tests, monthly check ups, 3 monthly chemo under anaesthetic and emergency stays in hospital if Hen’s temperature went over 38c, for this reason Henry had to be within 90 minutes drive of a UK hospital at any time for the duration of the 3 years to avoid sepsis and complications during treatment. Incredibly, and thankfully, Henry got through his treatment which ended in March 2019, he is officially in ‘remission’ and March 2024 will be ‘cured’. In 2018 whilst still on treatment we organised a fundraising exhibition of donated postcard sized artworks from artists for Children with Cancer UK and for a trip at the end of treatment for Henry. See the artworks donated and find out more at www.sarahcannell.com/henrys-odyssey 

Wading through PTSD
This has been our life for such a long time it is normal for our family. What we didn’t see coming at the end of treatment was the massive psychological impact for all of us, particularly Henry, from taking multiple traumas in our stride. We were warned by hospital staff (doctors, nurses and psychologists) that people can have a ‘bit of a wobble’ at the end of treatment. For Henry this has meant severe separation anxiety and PTSD which has impacted his daily life in many ways including terrible nightmares, disturbed sleep, panic attacks, high anxiety and sickness phobia. Accessing help through school and NHS mental health provision has been gruelling and limited in it’s helpfulness. Whilst his school have tried to help with extremely limited resources we have found overall psychological help has not been there in the way we have needed it. We have had to find our own way through an extremely difficult time and whilst we are still struggling we try to be positive and find creative solutions from wild swimming, hypnotherapy, reflexology, clay therapy, art therapy and many more approaches.

The Healing Power of The Arts
Throughout everything, I have felt the strength and healing power of the arts in so many facets of our #creativeodyssey from the artwork hanging on the walls at Addenbrookes and Norfolk & Norwich hospitals, to the incredible response to #henrysodyssey in 2018 from local and international artists, to the simple act of stitching, drawing and making at home and in hospital rooms with Henry and his friends over the past few years. I truly believe that #artwillsaveus in so many aspects of our lives, particularly when it involves wider communities, and this is part of the reason for planning the Winter Lantern Parade and Ship of Light for March Spring Equinox 2020. We need something to work towards and to look forward to which will spread a bit of light and magic, a focus away from the challenges of PTSD with the idea that using simple materials and making art together, celebrating art and nature will benefit everyone’s mental health regardless of what challenges life has thrown at them.
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