Amy Claire Mills is a performance-based research artist who explores themes of feminism, mortality, the body, and personal observation of the self – themes that have concerned her from a young age. Amy has cystic fibrosis, a condition that affects the lungs, pancreas, and in her case the liver and bowel. At the age of 12 she had a liver transplant and as a result of the drugs she had to take to avoid organ rejection she developed diabetes. Amy has now lived most of her life with illness.
In her early 20s Amy undertook a process of documenting her daily regime of “taking up to 40 pills, injecting insulin, enduring nasal washes, and wearing a mask to open my air ways”. At the time, she said it was an experiment, one in which she challenged herself to take her medication as prescribed and accept the side effects and overall condition of being sick. The project was called No More Tears and consisted of 300 photographs recording a 30-day period.
Since then, Amy has been involved in numerous exhibitions and has incorporated greater degrees of performance in her works. Her themes have not strayed from direct confrontation with difficult personal subject matter. Last year she co-curated the exhibition Waitlisted along with three other feminist artists, the Show Us Your Teeth collective founded at UNSW Art & Design. Waitlisted allowed exhibitors to explore what it means to live as an emerging creative practitioner complete with professional setbacks and financial struggle. Amy’s contribution to the show was two pieces that explored human suffering and the tendency in western culture to ignore it.
Amy defines herself as an artist whose performance and installation works “are heavily based in audience participation... I’m obsessed with the body. I’m concerned with endurance, and that relates to my incurable illness and the frustrations I feel at my body’s limitations.”