NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., Feb. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- AbbVie today announced the launch of ' Perspectives – Art, Inflammation and Me', an initiative designed to add a different dimension to the current understanding of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) and their impact on patients and society. More than 100 unique artistic expressions from the initiative are being debuted at the 9th Congress of the European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation (ECCO) in Copenhagen, Denmark from February 20 th to 22 nd.
"Art is a well-established medium to help educate," said Jose Miralles, Perspectives judge and professor, Facultad de Belles Arts de Valencia, Universitat Politecnica de Valencia, Spain. "The artistic expressions created through Perspectives vividly bring to life the stories, dreams and challenges of patients living with inflammatory diseases. We hope people can experience the gallery and learn something new about these conditions."
IMIDs are a group of progressive and potentially debilitating conditions that can affect various parts of the body such as the joints (rheumatoid arthritis), the bowels (Crohn's disease), the skin (psoriasis) and the spine (ankylosing spondylitis). IMIDs can have a serious and damaging impact on the day-to-day lives of those affected, and those around them  .More than 200 unique artistic expressions – all inspired by collaborations between artists and patients – provide new and different perspectives into some of the unknown, ignored or often underestimated burdens associated with some of these conditions. The initiative involves more than 200 artists from more than 40 countries around the world. In addition to professional and independent artists, Perspectives included art students from more than 15 universities in France, Canada, Italy and Spain through collaborations with the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Universitat Politecnica de Valencia). The artistic expressions include but are not limited to sculptures, photographs, paintings and installations. Perspectives will visit various art galleries and medical conferences throughout the world, with additional exhibition dates and locations to be announced later this year. "The stories and artworks in Perspectives may contribute to the current understanding of these diseases and their impact on patients and society from a very personal and emotional point of view," said Isidro Villanueva, M.D., Ph.D., group therapeutic area lead, Medical Affairs, Immunology, AbbVie. "AbbVie is a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company committed to addressing some of today's toughest health challenges. Helping others understand the impact associated with some of these chronic conditions is part of that commitment." About Perspectives 'Perspectives – Art, Inflammation and Me' is an initiative that brings together more than 200 artists with patients in more than 40 countries. Together, they have created a series of paintings, sculptures, photos and other artistic expressions that vividly depict — and help others understand — the impact of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs). Inspired by patients' stories, independent artists and students from a number of art universities created each piece to help more people better understand the burdens associated with some of these chronic and debilitating conditions. In addition to independent artists from all parts of the world, students from more than 15 universities coordinated by the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Universitat Politecnica de Valencia) were able to add their "Perspectives." Key Perspectives artworks featured at ECCO include: 'Tic Tac Toe'– A cross-stitching artwork from the U.S., symbolic of life with Crohn's Disease (CD). Much like a game, CD is a disease through which there are personal wins, losses and draws. Words like hope, strength, endurance, courage, ache and "ow" illustrate the range of emotions experienced while on the road from awareness to diagnosis – noting that while one does not always win at the game of life or CD, one still has to play.Artist: Barbara Miller ' Coexistentia'– A sculpture from Spain that portrays the story of a patient with Crohn's disease. The body is made of iron, representing the emotional armour that the patient constructs to protect themselves from the impact of the disease, and the intestinal area is made of marble, a hard and compact material, to symbolize the disease itself. Artist: Guillermo Ros Lluch ' Captive?' – A photograph taken at a historic jail in Ireland that signifies the patient's feeling of entrapment, both physically and emotionally, and his sense of being 'locked up'. Framed in the doorway of a cell, the patient is neither inside the cell nor out. As with his condition, ulcerative colitis, no barriers are immediately apparent but confinements are all around. Artist: John Minihan Note: Full-size, high resolution images of these artworks are available upon request.