And the absence of colour? “When I first started working, before I got into abstract painting, I was all about colour,” she tells me, “But now I make a conscious effort not to focus on it. I feel it frees me to explore a deeper sense of the self - of the spiritual, and it evolves in a more natural way.”

The feeling of being cut off from the world is heightened by the way that ME is often regarded in society and even by the medical profession, I am told. “Because they can’t see my symptoms, people often don’t understand the illness. Even doctors still treat it like a purely psychiatric illness rather than a physical one. It’s a follow-on from the Victorian concept of ‘female hysteria.’” One of the symptoms of Kuipers’ illness is an impaired memory resulting in a difficulty in expressing her ideas verbally. A few times in our conversation, she breaks off, frustrated at not being able to find the words. “That’s why I work in images. It is my medium in which I can express myself. I am not interested in following the mode of the moment but I hope to make something which speaks to people, and hopefully even makes a difference.” ER


'Rooms 2' by Maria Kuipers

Pelham House, Lewes
When? Until 6th March
How Much? Free
(t) 01273 749633
(w) Website