Painter Jipé Fronton has put colors on “rare diseases”

Photo: Évelyne Chaville

From February 28 to March 16, 2024, an exhibition was held in the reception hall of Basse-Terre city hall to raise awareness of rare diseases. Artist Jipé Fronton took part.

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300 million people worldwide are affected by rare diseases, but this number is considered low. 150 million sick people or half have a precise diagnosis, which takes an average of five years.

The event in Guadeloupe was organized by the Karukérares association, in collaboration with the city hall of the capital, to inform the public and health professionals about these diseases and the appropriate treatments when they exist.

Painter Jipé Fronton was asked by Dr Lyne Valentino of Karukérares and the town council member in charge of health and prevention, Harrod Farial, to bring an artistic touch to this exhibition including photos of patients and two paintings.

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“The first painting is called ‘Visible and Invisible’, and I made it during my first participation in 2023. The patients, who are called ‘ambassadors’ because they are in charge of talking about their disease, gave me their feelings, they made words and I made the painting. I remember I had almost finished the painting, and my son Rafaël, aged 6, had drawn a little man. He absolutely wanted me to include him in the painting, but I told him there was no more room. He finally convinced me that he was a “superhero” who would cure all diseases”, says Jipé Fronton.

The artist took his role very seriously, and did not hesitate to get information on the Internet about “rare diseases” (hemophilia, lupus, Sapho syndrome, sickle-cell anemia, etc.).

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“For the second painting, which is called ‘Rare Diseases’, patients talked more concretely about their disease. This is an abstract painting I made in one week in February 2024, and it looks like flower buds stretching out, disease buds. There are four squares with the colors of the disease: pink symbolizing cancer or albinism, for example, green for aniridia, blue (with other colors) for sickle cell anemia… I thought that a color was missing because, in my opinion, when someone comes into the world and opens his eyes, he sees light, so I added yellow and I talked about it to the doctors, who understood my approach”, he explains.

The event ended on Saturday March 16, between 4:00 and 6:00 pm, with a time for discussion with Dr. Maryse Étienne-Julan (head of the sickle cell transverse unit) and Dr. Lyne Valentino.

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