The Shared Heart Exhibition

by artists Bibo & Brian Keeley

As the law on organ donation in Scotland changes to presumed consent on 26 March 2021 we are very proud to present Bibo and Brian’s exhibition The Shared Heart.

The artists started this ongoing project in 2013 in response to their experience of Brian’s heart attack, critical illness, and survival thanks to a heart transplant that year.  It also reflects on the ongoing commitment of regimented medication and medical monitoring, as well as other ongoing restrictions which post-transplant life brings.

The Shared Heart project is informed by the two different perspectives of Bibo and Brian’s journey and not only gives a unique insight into a personal human story but also highlights the importance of organ donation and encourages informed conversations around this important theme.

The exhibition is hosted by the University of Aberdeen’s George Washington Wilson Centre for Visual Culture, and was made possible thanks to the generous support of  Aberdeen City Council ’s Creative Funding programme.

Bibo & Brian talk about their experiences which inform their Shared Heart project (video duration c. 10mins)

Photography by Bibo Keeley (2013)

Bibo Keeley Photography Documentation photostrip Brian Keeley
Bibo documented Brian’s recovery from his heart transplant in 2013

Photography by Bibo Keeley (2017, 2018)

Collaborative Sculpture (2021)

Title: Care

mixed media, c. 60x100x110cm


We created this collaborative sculpture piece to express some of the key aspects of our personal experiences of organ donation and heart transplantation.

PLEASE NOTE: PAID ADVERTISEMENTS APPEAR ON THIS WEBPAGE. WE DO NOT ENDORSE THE PRODUCT, SERVICE OR COMPANY, NOR ANY OF THE CLAIMS MADE BY THE ADVERTISEMENT. WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THE ADVERTISEMENTS NOR DO WE MAKE MONEY FROM THEM.

Moving image work by Brian Keeley (2016, 2018)

2016
2018

Portrait Paintings by Brian Keeley (2014)

Self-Portrait – One Week After My Heart Transplant , Acrylic on canvass, 150x100cm

This self-portrait is based on one of Bibo’s photographs. I undertook this large-scale painting just a few months after leaving hospital, and the process of painting it was a major step in my recovery and rehabilitation.

I also painted the portraits below to pay tribute to some of the extraordinary NHS staff at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank (Glasgow) who helped me survive on life support for 101 days until I was able to have a life-saving heart transplant in 2013. In the week after my transplant I took portrait photographs of nearly fifty healthcare workers, looking up at them from my Intensive Care bed. I planned to paint portraits of as many of these as possible. At that point I did not know if I would be able to hold a paintbrush again, or even survive long enough to complete the task.

Lifesavers, acrylic on canvas, each 30x40cm

Sculpture by Bibo Keeley (2014, 2018)

The sculptures which I created for the original Shared Heart exhibition in 2015 were an expression of some of the raw emotions I was left with after our experiences. I mainly worked in clay because its tactile qualities and immediacy allowed me to approach this process intuitively.

Below is a series of short videos produced by Brian & Bibo Keeley, showing these sculptures in three dimensions.
The videos are also accompanied by original sound pieces created by the artists.

PREMONITION OF AN INEVITABLE ENCOUNTER (2014)

ceramic, mixed media,
c. 80x30x30cm
My personal version of an ancient Mexican Death God.

HELPLESS (2014)

ceramic, rusted nails
c. 30x20x20cm
A useless hand on a useless arm, a serpent emerging from the body, nails driven into the back, a voiceless face with with pleading eyes, holding a ghostly presence close to its chest.

SCARED (2014)

ceramic
c. 25x20x20cm
Three figures, bound and fused together in terror.

Still Standing (2014)

weathered ceramic
c. 40x20x20cm
I left this sculpture in our garden for months, unprotected from the elements. The glazing faded. Cracks appeared. It could have blown over and broken. But it didn’t.

The Ship Which Was Called Back (2014)

ceramic
c. 50x40x20cm
Fear of the eerie and unbearable emptiness which the loss of a loved one leaves behind; metaphorical journey to ‘the other side’; but instead of a person, this ship carries only a small box of sand from our local beach.

Scare The Sickness Away (2014)

ceramic, mixed media 
c. 25x25x20cm
This is my personal visual interpretation of a Tibetan god who is believed to have overcome death.

Stumm (2015)

bronze, glass, water
30x20x15cm (bronze)
40x40x40cm (glass bowl)

Nurture (2018)

bronze
c. 80x40x30cm
A female figure, half human, half bird. She is holding eye contact with a little creature which she is cradling in her wing; nurturing the other – nurturing the self. Her powerful talons demonstrate her strength.

Mixed Media work by Brian Keeley (2016)

Title: Renaissance
mixed media – incorporating medication packets and MRI scans on board, 240x240cm

IMG_20161026_183849632 copy.jpg

The title of this self-portrait refers to my personal sense of rebirth following my heart transplant. It incorporates MRI imagery which I created in collaboration with staff at the University of Aberdeen’s Biomedical Imaging Centre, and 7,300 empty packets from the medication I need to take each year against the constant threat of organ rejection.

Tom McGrath Trust Maverick Award (2021)

After receiving one of the two prestigious Tom McGrath Trust Maverick Awards earlier this year, Bibo and Brian are currently working on a new moving image piece based on Bibo’s personal letters to Brian, written during the months while she helplessly witnessed his critical illness in 2013. These letters will be paralleled by Brian’s own harrowing memories of surviving more than 100 days without a functioning heartbeat, and the subsequent experience of receiving a heart transplant. This piece – which they are collaborating on with theatre director Susan Worsfold – will be a further addition to The Shared Heart.

For comments or more information you can contact the artists directly at b.keeley.19@abdn.ac.uk