Vol 16, No 2 (2009)

Cover Page

C. in Bedroom

Oil by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver

This woman represents a struggle that many females have felt to a certain degree — encountering a changing body that they cannot control. Although some of us experience it through puberty, aging, or pregnancy, breast cancer and the resulting surgery changes the landscape of the body in a way that forces us to either redefine who we are as women or transcend our own bodies. How do you reconstruct a sense of the self without reconstructing the body?

This woman opened her home and life to me; I recorded her stories and photographed her vulnerabilities, and she trusted me with the rest. She truly touched me; not only did she change how I painted. She changed how I thought of being a woman. This small, intimate series of paintings reflects the intimacy that I was allowed to observe — bedroom rituals we all participate in but somehow made more vulnerable by the cosmetic adaptations that a woman, post-mastectomy, goes through as she transitions between a private and public physical self.

I am honored and grateful to have met this woman and I hope that these images help demystify a situation that we avoid exploring because of fear, as well as broaden the range of how a “real” woman looks.

The oil artwork on the cover of this issue is entitled “C. in Bedroom” and was named second prize in the “Best of Exhibition” category the 2008 Lilly Oncology on Canvas: Expressions of a Cancer Journey Art Competition and Exhibition. The piece also was selected as the “Best Oil by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver.”

Oncology on Canvas was created by Eli Lilly and Company as a way to honour the journeys people take when confronted with a cancer diagnosis. The program invited people diagnosed with any type of cancer, their families and friends, cancer advocates, healthcare providers, as well as artists and art students to express, through art and in narrative, their own cancer journeys.

All winners were awarded a monetary donation to the cancer charity of their choice.

The rich and enduring collection of art is travelling the world and continues to touch the hearts and minds of people everywhere.

Current Oncology is committed to the Canadian oncology community as well as oncology communities around the world. We are pleased to help raise awareness of this great program created by Lilly. Current Oncology will be selecting a new artwork for each cover from previous and upcoming competitions.