This X-ray comes from a baby that was born and died very soon after with congenital malformations. I am trying to evoke Ben Okri’s novel The Famished Road about spirit children – those children that are born in Africa and live only a short time – children that are actually spirits. The book follows a spirit child who is being constantly harassed by his fellow spirits in another world to return to play with them.
The X-ray figure itself is white and bland against a rich textural backdrop. It incorporates figures just visible in the background – when involved in a life-changing experience like a serious illness one is often aware of the “real” world progressing just the other side of the wall walking around, talking, fighting, and eating, completely oblivious to the momentous events on this side. One hospital I worked in had televisions mounted at intervals along the walls in the wards. I often felt it was incongruous trying to save a patient’s life in a cardiac arrest resuscitation with some grinning television personality beaming down from above full of geniality and bonhomie.