Fran HenkeI always felt lightly touched by polio, having no memory of those years. I do remember the books that mum read to my sister and me, over and over in rotation: Pooh, Alice, Wind in the Willows and Peter Pan. Of course I coloured them in.

Those four wartime stories gave me a love of words, in turn providing enduring love of stories of escape, of flying. The plaster casts brought back memories of being encased in plaster when not encased by the Double Thomas. The torso was like an awful corset, I hated the scar where it had been cut off the willing model. As a sculptor and printmaker I have always enjoyed collage, so I covered it with stories, scans from those four books that I still treasure, defaced by my pencils.

I did go on to write as I dreamed of doing, and of painting, drawing, sculpting. The frock was one my mother would have liked me to wear. The leg was simple. I dreamed of dancing, didn’t we all?

Polio has touched me again with late effects and I have been deeply touched by the plight of children with polio today. Another concern is for Australians with polio who have not been properly treated for their after effects, may these expressions of our childhood reach/touch them too.

Click to view a sample of Fran’s other art work (not part of the “Touched by Polio” Exhibition).

Please click on a picture below to see more photographs and a video of each of Fran’s “Touched by Polio” art works

Dancing Queen
Not sold yet

Story Time
Not sold yet