Making our illness stories visible

When I first heard about painter Regina Holliday and what she’s doing I was astonished and moved by what she took up as her mission: interpreting people’s illness story and painting it on the back of one’s jacket. She calls her work the “Walking Gallery” as we exhibit it merely by walking through various medical settings.  For free, she paints your illness story on a jacket you send her and then returns your jacket asking only that you wear it in public a few times a year. I wrote about her here in 2016.


I sent her a jacket as soon as I’d read about her. I got my jacket (above) back a few months later with her painting emulating my own whimsical illustrations. Since I am blessed to speak at diabetes conferences throughout the year, the most recent was last month, the IDF World Congress in Busan, Holliday’s work was on display.

IMG_0477.jpegIt gets looks, smiles and I think the heartfelt sense of recognition that we who live with a chronic condition are all walking around with something extra we carry that few hardly ever see.

I sent Regina an email and the photo above when I got home and she told me she’s still painting stories. If you’d like to be part of the Walking Gallery, check out her website here.


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