Art Meets Science to Tackle Sexual Health Taboos / Throb

Award-winning visual artist Sue Williams is bringing together the artistic and medical world to lift the taboo of talking about sexual dysfunction.

The result is THROB, a series of conversations, exhibitions and performances in October and November 2015 and February 2016 that will combine painting and drawing installation, music, poetry and dance/theatre performance.

“I want to get to grips with issues that affect a search for a fulfilling, satisfying and happy sexual life. I want to show the absurdity and tragedy of the subject and I want this work to push new artistic boundaries in a wider theatre and society context. Perhaps even banish a few taboos along the way…” Sue Williams.

• Four explosive exhibitions and multi-disciplinary art-form performances in Cardiff and Newport
• Unique collaboration between the arts and sexual dysfunction medical experts
• The opportunity to open normally taboo conversations about sexual relationships

At the heart of the unique art-meets-science encounter is the partnership between the multi-award winning visual artist and erectile dysfunction specialist and cardiologist Dr Nick Ossei-Gerning who brings his expert knowledge and the shared experience of his patients to the ground-breaking initiative.

Sue leads a creative team that comprises poet Rhian Edwards, composer Pete Wyer, dancers and choreographers Romain Guion and Marta Zollet at four events in October and November in Cardiff and Newport. THROB is co-directed by Roy Campbell-Moore.

Sue, who is Professor of Fine Art at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Swansea College of Art, said, “From Mick Jagger’s ‘lack of satisfaction’ to Shakespeare’s tragic Othello who can’t consummate his marriage to Desdemona, artists have long explored the subject of sexual vulnerability.

“Through exploring issues related to erectile dysfunction I want to gain knowledge of the emotional impact of sexual and family relationships, and how men and women are made vulnerable through the lack of open conversation and communications about this difficult subject.

“As an artist whose work deals with many taboos of human communication, I have worked with my collaborators to explore some of the pain, pleasure, disease and psychological issues that cause dysfunctional sexual health and identity. Each artist has brought a mature, yet sharp understanding to the work and they have created an innovative and perceptive set of artistic responses to the theme.

“At the exhibitions and performances in October and November 2015 and February 2016 everyone can experience the work generated by myself and the other artists. The medical community and opinion formers will also be invited to join us and the audiences and take part in the follow-up discussions on various related taboo subjects to articulate and identify a more open approach to the subject.”
Dr Ian Walsh, Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David said, “Professor Williams’ work is a powerful testimony to the unique role of art and the artist in exploring new forms of discourse in such a deeply personal and emotional area as men’s sexual health.

“As Wales’ oldest College of Art we recognise the importance for our students to be taught by internationally recognised artists challenging the boundaries of their practice and the immense benefits that it brings to our graduates and society,” he adds.

Dr Ossei-Gerning said, “It is my passion as a clinician to raise the profile of Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and to create a better understanding of the trauma that this problem can cause to many as a harbinger of heart disease, as well as its devastating effects upon men and women’s’ relationships. ED continues to be a taboo subject, leaving many to suffer in silence. My vision for this collaboration with Sue is that it is a perfect opportunity to team up with artists, scientists, medical professionals, political figureheads and patients to bring to the fore new thinking and ways of communicating about this crucial subject.

“Through this I would like the work to reach a substantial public audience and contribute to a change in both the public and professional attitude to the condition so that patients are no longer confused and disturbed needlessly and encouraged to seek out the help that is available”

The THROB Events

A provocative exhibition of new drawing and painting installations that expose the darkness and humour often held in the shadow of despair

gallery/ten, Cardiff,

Free entry

Thursday 8 October to Saturday 31 October


An engaging and lively presentation of new music, poetry and dance followed by an optional ‘conversation’ between the audience and Sue Williams, Dr Nick Ossei-Gerning, poet Rhian Edwards, composer Pete Wyer, dancers and choreographers Romain Guion and Marta Zollet, co-director Roy Campbell-Moore.
Reardon Smith Theatre, National Museum Cardiff,

Free entry

Sunday 8 November 2015, 1.00pm & 3.15pm


A provocative, innovative, sensual and controversial performance in cabaret-style, when love & hate, pain & pleasure crash together in a daring mix of multi-disciplinary art forms and medical science. This collaboration with the creative team will be followed by an optional discussion between audience and creative team.
Venue: The Riverfront, Newport

Tickets £5. Book at
Friday 13 November 2015, 7.00pm


An exhibition of new work by Sue Williams that demystifies taboo issues surrounding visual art and sexual health with a sharp exhibition of new drawing and painting installations depicting the darkness and humour often held in the shadow of despair.

Bay Art Gallery,

Free entry

Private view Friday 5 February 2016

Exhibition Saturday 6 February to Friday 4 March 2016

THROB is funded by Arts Council of Wales, supported by University Wales Trinity Saint David Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, National Museum Cardiff, Gallery Ten, BayArt, Arts Scene in Wales, The Riverfront, Arts Active, Barry MEMO and yourmindsey.

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