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May 30

WINNER: Australian Body Painter of the Year 2016!

Winner Australian body painter of the year

I’m so proud to announce that I won the title of Australian Body Painter of the Year at this year’s Australian Body Art Awards!

That’s first place in the country out of all of the art works created on the day, across all categories. Needless to say, I’m blown away!

We had 6 hours to complete our creations on our models. My category’s theme was “Periods in Time” which instantly struck a chord with me, and inspired me to do an awareness piece about endometriosis. I felt a personal connection to this piece, so it’s a real joy to win with something so close to my heart. This design was a risky and boundary-pushing choice, but I was so absorbed by it that I had to make it a reality and put it out there for the world to see. I’m eternally grateful to my gorgeous model Kate Martin for being courageous enough to trust me and really rock this badass whip-cracking endo-warrior goddess!

The title of my piece is “Fight Like a Girl.”

Copyright 2016 Susanne Daoud Body art & photo: Susanne Daoud (Suedy) at Juicy Body Art Model: Kate Martin

Copyright 2016 Susanne Daoud
Body art & photo: Susanne Daoud (Suedy) at Juicy Body Art
Model: Kate Martin

Endometriosis a disease where cells that normally grow inside the uterus find their way elsewhere in the body, creating lesions, severe pain, inflammation, and scar tissue that literally sticks your body’s organs together. It’s a very painful disease that drains you both physically and mentally on a daily basis, not just once a month.

Endometriosis is not just a reproductive disease. It starts there, but left unchecked over time it starts to take over other organs and systems in the body. Early diagnosis is vital, but very rarely happens. The average time it takes to get diagnosed is 7-10 years. In my case, it took 19 years.

Copyright 2016 Susanne Daoud Body art & photo: Susanne Daoud (Suedy) at Juicy Body Art Model: Kate Martin

Copyright 2016 Susanne Daoud
Body art & photo: Susanne Daoud (Suedy) at Juicy Body Art
Model: Kate Martin

It’s an invisible illness. On the outside you look fine. But endo sufferers often say that they wish that people could see their insides to really understand what they’re going through. So here we are. I wanted to turn the costume concept on its head, so it’s the disease wearing the body as a costume. You develop a love-hate relationship with your body. As much as you try to nurture it, at times your body becomes your enemy.

Copyright 2016 Susanne Daoud Body art & photo: Susanne Daoud (Suedy) at Juicy Body Art Model: Kate Martin

Copyright 2016 Susanne Daoud
Body art & photo: Susanne Daoud (Suedy) at Juicy Body Art
Model: Kate Martin

The front of the piece is all about the physical pain of the disease. It’s a deep pain that feels like your insides are clawing their way out. It busts out of your lower back and drags down your thighs. The fatigue it causes feels like you’re dragging a weight behind you every single day.

And all the while, the inner clockwork is ticking. How long until my next surgery? How long can I be on this drug before the side effects outweigh the benefits? A million voices saying “have a baby!” before the disease takes over. Tick tock.

Copyright 2016 Susanne Daoud Body art & photo: Susanne Daoud (Suedy) at Juicy Body Art Model: Kate Martin

Copyright 2016 Susanne Daoud
Body art & photo: Susanne Daoud (Suedy) at Juicy Body Art
Model: Kate Martin

Her mouth is silenced to symbolise the social stigma surrounding the disease, which is the main reason why people like me remain undiagnosed for years. In my case, it took 19 years of countless appointments with countless healthcare providers before someone finally took my pain seriously. Tick tock.

Copyright 2016 Susanne Daoud Body art & photo: Susanne Daoud (Suedy) at Juicy Body Art Model: Kate Martin

Copyright 2016 Susanne Daoud
Body art & photo: Susanne Daoud (Suedy) at Juicy Body Art
Model: Kate Martin

This brings us to the back of the piece, where we see all the healthcare professionals that turned their back on me over my 19 years of seeking help, and the one doctor who took me seriously. By the time he opened me up the endo had spread severely. He removed as much of the disease and scar tissue as he could. Left any longer, he would have had to remove my left ovary and part of my bowel, too. Tick tock.

There is no cure. It’s a chronic illness, and the best we can do is treat it with medication and regular surgery to try to cage the beast.

Copyright 2016 Susanne Daoud Body art & photo: Susanne Daoud (Suedy) at Juicy Body Art Model: Kate Martin

Copyright 2016 Susanne Daoud
Body art & photo: Susanne Daoud (Suedy) at Juicy Body Art
Model: Kate Martin

A whopping 1 in 10 women have endo. So why aren’t more people talking about it? A healthy open dialogue about the disease will help more young women get diagnosed faster, both by empowering them to push for a diagnosis, and by bringing endo to the forefront of the minds of more medical practitioners. I hope that this piece gets people talking about endo so that fewer young women have to go through what I did to finally get treated.

For further reading, check out the following resources to get you worded up on endo:
Endometriosis.org – a global platform for education and support on endometriosis.
EndoActive Australia & NZ – a great source of info and support for us down under.
Endometriosis Care Centre of Australia – to find specialist care near you.

This article from Endometriosis.org is particularly great at describing what I and millions of other sufferers have been through in those many years trying to find a diagnosis. It’s sadly all too common a story. Help us by sharing via the buttons below and spreading the word!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.juicybodyart.com/winner-australian-body-painter-of-the-year-2016/