Portraying the Transplant Waiting List in Photographs Video Transcript

Musician and artist Silas Ritchie was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth. Eventually, his disease led to his need for a double-lung transplant and the wait for his second chance at life began.


Video and Transcript


Watch Silas' video, or read the video transcript:


[ Music ]


>> For as long as Silas Richie can remember two things have always been prominent. The first, a natural artistic ability.


[ Singing ]


>> I've always been an artist my entire life. Art and music runs in my family. I made a folk album when I was 18 that was against the war.


[ Singing ]


>> Most of my paintings have animals in unlikely situations. I call my work Si-realism which is kind of a play on surrealism.


>> A second prominent part of his life is cystic fibrosis. He was diagnosed with CF at birth.


>> In 19 years I actually walked faster than my friends. They called me the fast walker. And then you know, 10 years after that I was definitely the slow walker carrying around oxygen and needing to stop every half a block to catch my breath. Every year it was a distinct notch towards needing transplantation.


>> In 2011, Silas was put on the active list for a lung transplant. Not long after that his friend came to him with an idea for a project. The friend was working on a master of fine arts. The idea was to have each of them take a picture from their life each day during Silas' wait for a transplant.


>> We called it bump on a line and we each took a photograph every day. We were hoping that it would get cut off by the transplant, but unfortunately I ended up having to wait longer than the reception date for his show was and that ended up being about 109 days, which resulted in 218 photographs, one of mine and one of his per day. And it was kind of a reflection on mindfulness and turning the daily waits into something positive and creative.


>> Silas' wait ended with a life-changing lung transplant in June of 2013.


>> Before the transplant I was carrying around oxygen tanks. I'd carry around my backpack with a laptop and art supplies in it.


>> The gallery of photographs remains an important part of Silas' life. It is currently on display at the Health Science's Learning Center on the EW Campus through December of 2013.


>> These two are from the same evening.


>> Silas can look at almost any photograph he took and tell you what he was doing and what he was feeling that day.


>> I appreciated the process and what I learned from it and having the time to work on these projects and most of all I appreciate having energy now with having the transplant and I'm happy to have gone through it. And this is a reminder of what I had to go through to do it and it makes me feel pleased.


>> People who see this, what are you hope they take away from this?


>> I want them to think of just being mindful of their days and especially if you're able to breathe, appreciate the fact that you can breathe. Another thing that I'd like people to know is that, you know, sick people and everyone, we all see the same things, everybody is the same in that respect. We all appreciate the world around us the same amount.


[ Singing ]

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