A collaborative performance (at GoMA) by
Bibo Keeley, Brian Keeley, Angela Docherty, Paul Docherty

Four Artists. Two couples. Two heart transplant recipients.

The heart has four chambers. Each distinct but connected, together forming a viable organ. Their operation relies completely on giving and receiving, and on the perfect timing between them.

Together the artists explore the significance of these beats which keep us alive, and try to harmonise the struggle of the trauma of heart failure and heart transplantation which brought them here with the joy of another beat, another breath.

Bibo Keeley and Brian Keeley juxtapose the amplified sound of the transplanted heart beating within Brian’s body with Bibo’s own rhythms and voice, the healing songs she sang to Brian when he hung on to life before his transplant.  Using spoken word and evocative live music Angela Docherty and Paul Docherty create a poetic and haunting account of the experience of their agonizing wait for Angela’s heart transplant.

The performance piece Beats Per Minute is an evolving and developing collaboration which has previously been presented at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in September 2017 (in the gallery space of: Marlie Mull ‘This exhibition is cancelled’)


In 2013 both artist Brian Keeley and writer Angela Hughes Docherty each underwent a life-saving heart-transplant in the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Glasgow/Clydebank within a matter of weeks of each other. They and their spouses subsequently met at the post-transplant clinic.  Brian’s story of surviving against all odds was widely covered in the media.  Along with their respective spouses Bibo Keeley (visual artist) and Paul Docherty (writer and musician), who accompanied them through their journeys, they have shared their experiences with each other and separately within their own creative disciplines. Now, for the first time, all four have created a collaborative performance piece in which they explore their personal and unique insights into the world of heart transplantation.

The Artists

Brian Keeley and Bibo Keeley met nearly twenty years ago, and were married in 2013 in the Intensive Care ward of The Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank, when Brian was critically ill and not expected to live.  His survival because of a heart transplant was a major event, and the experience informs much of the creative work they do.

Bibo is a German born visual artist based in Aberdeen.  She studied Pedagogy at Freiburg University, and Animal Assisted Therapy at University of Vienna.   She is currently undertaking a  BA Hons at Grays School of Art, Aberdeen.  Bibo mainly creates sculpture and other 3D artworks in a variety of media and techniques, as well as photography and performance.  Her work is a response to personal experience – life and death, our ‘spiritual relationship’ with nature (Naturverbundenheit) and gender.  She has exhibited in solo-exhibitions and as a contributing artist for a number of years in Scotland and further afield, including:  Solo exhibition (photography, installation, participatory performance) Gallery Seventeen, supported by Aberdeen City Council (October 2017), Scottish Portrait Awards: Finalist (Photography), Exhibition – Scottish Arts Club, Edinburgh (November 2017), Generator Project Dundee (performance art) (2017), Coast Festival MacDuff – Solo exhibition at The Lighted Rooms (photography) (2015)   bibokeeley.wordpress.com

Brian is a visual artist and filmmaker, originally from Glasgow, but based in Aberdeen.  He studied at Glasgow School of Art and Bournemouth University.  He ran a video workshop in Aberdeen in the 1990s, and as a commercial video editor in Germany.  He also taught Art & Design in secondary schools for a few years, before he suffered heart failure and needed a life-saving transplant in 2013.  Since his recovery he has focussed on his own art practice informed by his experiences of living with a transplanted heart.  He is also an active campaigner and speaker, promoting awareness of organ donation:  briankeeley.wordpress.com

Angela Docherty and Paul Docherty met in 2011 on the MLitt in Creative Writing at Stirling. Between them they’ve been published in several literary journals and anthologies from New Writing Scotland to Causeway and The Grind. In December 2013, their lives were interrupted when Angela was listed for an urgent heart transplant, which she received on Christmas Day.

Angela’s first book, ‘My Heart’s Content’, tells the story of her time waiting for a new heart. She won the Moniack Mhor Work in Progress grant, had an extract of the book published in the Next Review, performed part of it at the Speakeasy in Edinburgh and read at the Ullapool Book Festival.

Paul is a professional musician and composer who has in the past recorded and toured the world with Glasgow band the Cosmic Rough Riders. Currently he is in the final stages of a PhD in Publishing and Cultural Policy. Earlier this year, they were both invited to take part in a collaborative music and spoken word event in Stirling.

Links to related articles

Scotland on Sunday article ‘An Everyday Miracle’ 2015

BBC Reporting Scotland ‘How an ECMO machine and love mended a broken heart’ 2015

Brian and Bibo’s art exhibition website The Shared Heart:


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