Benefit + Awareness Month

Artist Showcase

At Opera Mariposa, we believe in the power of art to tell stories. In these pieces, multidisciplinary artists with ME and Fibromyalgia have done just that – fusing art and advocacy to illuminate life with “invisible” illnesses, and the hidden challenges faced by the chronic illness community.

Many of these artists have worked across disciplines – as composers, stage managers, makeup artists and more. Here, we showcase their digital, collage, and fibre arts, as well as their written words, to reveal another facet of how our community uses art to raise our voices.

Access: Artwork includes alt text, image descriptions, and definitions of medical jargon. Our gallery will remain online, so please enjoy it at your own pace. Content warnings: references to medical symptoms, ableism, and pandemic isolation.

Click on each art piece to see a full-sized version and more info!

Discover more images, including a behind-the-scenes look at the making of some of the artwork, on Opera Mariposa’s Instagram!


Christina Baltais (Words As Medicine) – collage

Toronto/Tkaranto artist Christina Baltais (she/her) has lived with ME/CFS since she was 20 years old. Although her illness was originally ‘mild’, it progressed until she was forced to leave school and became mostly housebound. Now when her health permits it, Christina draws on her personal experiences to create collages, photography, and makeup art aimed at raising awareness for this life-altering illness, and she advocates for her community and for ME healthcare equality.

“When we talk about healing, it is often only referred to in a physical sense — as a precursor to cure. There is another type of healing. It is the healing that takes place when your struggling is validated, seen and heard… I want to normalize and create discussion around the difficult and challenging struggles we face, both within our bodies, and with the outside world because of them.”


Created on the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples.

Lia Pas – fibre arts

Saskatoon-based multidisciplinary artist Lia Pas (she/her) developed ME/CFS after contracting a virus in 2015. Previously active as a composer/librettist, dancer, vocalist and instrumentalist, she found herself struggling to read, speak, or even listen to music. To keep creating, she turned to embroidery – and eight years later is renowned for her hand-embroidered creations, which take months to create and often illustrate the “invisible” neurological symptoms of ME/CFS.

“It is well known that most autoimmune diseases affect women more often than men, and fibre arts… have long been considered “women’s work” and not always taken seriously as art in the West. I am a woman illustrating my disease, my invisible symptoms, in a medium that has been kept alive by women… If I must create slowly, then let the slowness be a meditation, let the quiet be a source of introspection, let the threads of my symptoms express themselves in thread on linen.”


Created on Treaty 6 territory – the traditional lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dene, Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota nations, and homeland of the Métis.

Toni Scott – digital illustration

Vancouver-based Toni Scott (he/him) is a non-binary illustrator who has lived with both ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 2019. Previously known as the artist for the Chargimals, a series of characters representing physical and mental health conditions, he is now a freelance illustrator working with clients worldwide.

“When I was diagnosed with ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia, the chronic illness and disability community welcomed me with open arms and helped me in more ways than I can count. I want to use my art to advocate for and give back to the community to the best of my ability.”


Created on the unceded, occupied lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples.

Enjoy more Benefit + Awareness programming

Discover our other digital offerings for May Awareness Month