Today is the opening for the art show, “Expressions of Cancer and One in Eight: The Torso Project,” at the Barnes Gallery at Leverett Arts and Crafts Center in Leverett MA. I facilitated this show ( The Torso Project is my part) along with Lily Rose Cardasis, a UMass student whose mother died of breast cancer. The opening is from 4:30-7:30 pm today with food and drink and music.
As Cheryl Rezendes wrote in The Recorder yesterday (thank you, Cheryl, for this nice piece) “Please come out to see this exhibit. Enter the intimate lives of many brave women and men who have expressed, through the healing modality of art, their fears, anger and hope toward a disease that in some way has affected us all.” (look for the article, The Art of Cancer, online at www.recorder.com)
I hope that you can come to the opening! If not, the exhibit will be at the gallery through January 27, 2008; hours are Thursday-Sunday, 2- 5 pm. Or come on Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 3 pm as members of the Spirit of the Written Word writing workshop at Cancer Connection read from our new book of our writings, Words to Live By.
In the meantime, here is the description of 1 in 8: The Torso Project.
One in Eight: The Torso Project is a collaborative art project that seeks to foster healing and public awareness. The title comes from the fact that one in eight women, over the course of their lifetimes, will get breast cancer.
Originated by breast cancer survivor Pam Roberts, the women made plaster body casts of their own torsos, to comment on the female form and to express outrage at the epidemic of breast cancer that kills one woman every 13 minutes in the United States. This year 211,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States, and 40,000 will die.
The project grew out of the desire to dispel the silence and fear about breast cancer through the shared experience of collaborative art.
â€œWe bared our breasts together to address the fear and to celebrate the supportive friendships and community that are necessary for surviving. We are all in this together,â€ says Roberts.
Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 1993 and had a mastectomy one month later. The statistics of incidence of breast cancer have changed since her diagnosis. At that time, it was one in nine. Today–fourteen years later–the figure is approaching one in seven.
Certainly some of the reason for this statistical increase can be attributed to better and earlier diagnosis. But the frightening increase in documented breast cancer is also caused by the ever-increasing amount of toxins in our homes, schools, workplaces and environment. We are poisoning ourselves and our earth, with sickening results.
One in Eight was inspired by Roberts’ entry in the Show Us Your Bra contest four years ago. Roberts asked her friends Hope Schneider and Katie Winship to help her make a plaster of Paris body cast of her torso. Her resulting piece, â€œI Don’t Wear A Bra,â€ received honorable mention and was featured on a calendar produced from the event.
Show Us Your Bra is an annual event sponsored by Northampton’s Gazebo to raise money for its Breast Form Fund, which provides prostheses for uninsured and undersinsured women who have had breast cancer.
Breast cancer strikes us where we are vulnerable and in a highly visible way. Our breasts are our femininity, our desirability, our power, our nurturance, our mothering, our sexuality and our shame. Breast cancer threatens to kill us–and does kill us–while making us confront the essence of our womanliness.
There is no cure for breast cancer; once someone has had breast cancer there is risk for an occurrence at any time. But, there is healing. Using art as a healing modality helps us excise the fear of breast cancer and transform it into an expression of courage and love.
We hope that you will join us in this exhibit by honoring or memorializing someone here, or by sharing your thoughts and feelings on the board. We hope that you will feel inspired to go home and do your part to help make breast cancer ancient history.
Â© Pam Roberts