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World IBD Day 2021 – Exhibition At Parliament

Exhibiting their artistic talents, politicians and leaders across New Zealand have put up their hands to raise awareness of people living with chronic illnesses. On the 24th of May, an artistic installation called “Unmasking IBD” will be unveiled at the Grand Hall of Parliament, representing the masks that people with chronic diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis wear to hide their illnesses in everyday life. The installation will travel throughout the country during 2021-2022.

Prominent New Zealanders are creating doodles and drawings, empathising with those behind the masks. These doodles will be exhibited as a key part of an installation created by noted Wairarapa artist Katie Gracie who was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis nine years ago.

Gracie notes that “While the project is in commemoration of World IBD Day, I hope this installation will raise awareness of everyone who is living and dealing with a chronic illness.”

The installation features life-size figures of people dealing with chronic diseases, hiding behind “masks of wellness”. Dr. Richard Stein, gastroenterologist and Chairman of the Crohn’s and Colitis NZ Charitable Trust, says, “The artist has brilliantly captured the message we want to convey, that many diseases are “hidden”. There are people all around us, in the workplace, studying in our schools and universities, raising families who are dealing with challenges most of us cannot even imagine. This purpose of this installation is to raise awareness and to honour their strength.”

The event is being hosted by Health Select Committee member, Chris Bishop in conjunction with Crohn’s and Colitis New Zealand Charitable Trust, commemorating World IBD Day, which is celebrated in over fifty countries. One of the speakers will be CCNZ youth ambassador, 16-year-old Nicole Thornton, whose initiatives to promote toilet access in New Zealand, have been widely publicized.

Doodles have already been submitted from notables like Hon. Marama Davidson, Hon. Peter Dunne and Dr. Ashley Bloomfield.

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