Fundraiser launched to stage exhibition in memory of Margate artist and disability activist Lizzy Rose

Lizzy Rose, self - portrait in hospital gown in 2021

A fundraiser has been launched to grant a request made by Margate disability activist and artist Lizzy Rose who died in January this year, aged just 33, after a lifelong fight with Crohns Disease.

Born in 1988, Lizzy was well-known locally and was building a national reputation with her work. She trained at Central Saint Martins in London, before working with LIMBO arts in Margate from 2012-15 as Assistant Curator alongside artists Matthew de Pulford and Paul Hazelton.

In 2016, she became part of the programming team at CRATE, and she was an Associate at Open School East in 2018. Lizzy showed work as part of Art In Romney Marsh, Whitstable Satellite, and Margate Now.

She also worked with many grassroots organisations including Margate Museum where she was a volunteer, collaborating on an exhibition about the town’s history with mods and rockers.

Nationally, Lizzy was known for her campaigning for fairer working conditions for disabled artists.

Lizzy Rose with her Arrangement at Crate

Lizzy had Crohn’s disease, a chronic autoimmune condition affecting the gut which, in Lizzy’s case, led to intestinal failure. Her worldview was shaped by her experiences and awareness of the fragility of life, and her later work directly addressed chronic illness, and how society deals with it.

She spent an increasing amount of time in hospital from 2010 onwards. Determined to continue making work, she created art from her hospital bed. She used social media to ensure it was seen when traditional avenues were not accessible to her:.

Lizzy valued the NHS – and spoke frequently about her gratitude for the support she received. She was also willing to speak out when she thought that something was wrong. In 2014, Lizzy challenged Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in the High Court. She made a case against a decision to refuse NHS funding to freeze her eggs, when an imminent bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy treatment would leave her infertile. Although she lost the case, the judge ruled that the CCG “failed properly to address “recommendations made by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) on when funding should be offered.

Lizzy left a request with her mother that there be an exhibition of her work in the event of her death, entrusting the task to friends and fellow artists, Katie Hare and Matthew de Pulford.

They are among those who now launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the month-long exhibition of her work.

Lizzy in front of a collection of watercolour paintings made in hospital. Published by Crohn’s & Colitis UK, 2014

The campaign, hosted by Crate Studio & Project Space, is a collaboration between organisations Lizzy worked with during her life.

Planned for Spring 2023, the exhibition will bring together work Lizzy made throughout her career and will include large scale, immersive installations, delicate drawings and films. It will take place in multiple venues across Margate, including, Crate, Limbo, Well Projects, and Turner Contemporary, with events at the ICA in London live streamed by Wysing Broadcasts.

Subject to funding the exhibition will be accompanied by an ambitious outreach programme modelled on Lizzy’s ‘Hospital Watercolour Club’ – a project she initiated during a long hospital stay in 2013 where she asked visitors to paint with her over a four week period and share the results on social media.

The outreach programme will encourage housebound people and hospital patients to share their own artwork on Instagram.  Throughout the duration of the exhibition, selected posts will be spotlighted by Shape Arts and other project partners.

The exhibition organisers believe that there will be many people in Margate and the surrounding towns that will remember Lizzy and want to contribute to the fundraising effort.  They hope that there will be many others who will be touched by her story and want to help.

You can donate by going to the funding page at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/exhibitionforlizzy

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