The Alopecia Diaries

The Alopecia Diaries was an exhibition that ran at the Imperial College London from September 2011 to March 2012. Various pieces have also been shown at the Vibe Gallery in Bermondsey, London, in September 2012 and May 2013, as well as in Rome and Florence, May-June 2013 as part of a multi-artist exhibition highlighting the condition alopecia areata.

The printed works document designer and artist Robert Newman’s experience of the condition, an autoimmune disorder of the scalp. Robert suffered from alopecia from 2005 to 2010. The series of 25 screenprints takes you through the journey from a small patch on his beard, to subsequent hair loss, diagnosis of alopecia areata and the despondency this created, the mania-inducing steroid treatments he elected to go through and finally to eventual recovery. Everyday activities had a significant impact, as self-consciousness became debilitating and self-image became poor.

The exhibition aimed to show how something often regarded as a vanity issue can nevertheless have a huge impact on everyday life. These artworks, and the process of producing them, represent an exorcism of sorts, of a former self.

A huge thank you goes to artist Katy Goutefangea for her enormous expertise during the screenprinting process, and furniture designer James Tattersall for framing the artworks. The exhibition at the Imperial College London was made possible by the help and generosity of Anna Nyburg. Photography of the private view and of the artworks was by John O’Shea.