As an artist I am influenced by many different things, everyday situations, colours in the sunlight, a song on the radio, other artists etc etc. However one of my main influences has to be my amazing family. Today, in the pouring rain, my mother, sister and nieces took part in the race for life along with an additional 4000 people. "What is so amazing about that?" I hear you ask.
My sister was diagnosed with Breast Cancer a year ago and has had to undergo a year of treatment including an operation, chemo therapy, radio therapy and a lot of discomfort. My mother is battling her 3rd (yes that was not a typo) her 3rd cancer - Mouth cancer having already beaten cervical and breast cancer. My mum has had to endure a series of intense operations that have included breaking her jaw, inserting metal plates, removing parts of her tongue and leaving her in a lot of discomfort and unable to eat properly.
Both my Sister and Mother have such strength and positive attitudes, it must be unbearable for them some days but they always carry themselves with such grace and courage, I am so proud of both of them.
I have tried to portray how in awe I am other both my sister and mother's strength they have shown not just for themselves but for their family throughout their battle in the art work pictured below. I also wanted to create something that shows the strength, courage and community spirit that is in abundance on days such as the Race for Life - to honour all who take part.
The pictures below show a canvas that was made by taking rubbings of the runners/walkers trainer soles and gluing them in the shape of the ribbon sign. Around the outside of the ribbon participants wrote messages for loved ones that are battling cancer and loved ones that have sadly departed this world. Some people wanted to write messages of hope for cures. Others noted bravery and thanks for support given. In fact I was amazed at how many people have been affected and touched by someone who is battling or unfortunately lost the battle of cancer. Some people were writing messages for 4-5 people. We had so many people wanting to write messages we had to continue into a book as you can see from the picture below, the canvas was filled up in no time.
My niece writing her comments on the canvas
The completed canvas
In addition to the canvas above I have created some paper collages using a range of paper engineering techniques that discuss the personal battles my mother and sister have fought as well as investigating the medium of paper and technique of frottage.
3 Cancers. In this piece I have used pieces of the three cancers my mother has had (be it pictures of the actual cancer sourced for the Internet or pictures taken directly after my mothers surgery). The cancer cells are extremely beautiful under a microscope and have amazing shape and line to them which I find quite ironic for something that is so destructive and deadly. The paper craft techniques include iris folding, collage and star bursts.
Mums arm after surgery - A drawing of my mothers arm after an operation that included taking a a lump of skin from my mums arm to rebuild her tongue. The orange background was a rubbing taken from inside the hospital and the green shapes and rubbings from objects that represent all of my mothers children and grandchildren. Once again I have tried to concentrate on the aesthetic beauty juxtaposed to cancers brutality.
Haircut - in this piece I have used a papercraft cage to disguise an image of my sister having her head shaved during her chemo. This was a very emotional day for my sister and once again, I was overwhelmed by how brave she was and how she was more concerned about me than herself. I have used frottage to create images of cancer cells taken for textured surfaces around our houses. The papercage is not used to hide my sister but to encourage the viewer to take a closer look, to look beyond the haircut and see the person inside.
My amazing Mother and SisterI really hope that days like today continue to emphasise how important it is to support research, to support our hospitals, our nurses, surgeons and amazing Macmillan nurses to find a cure for cancer, new medications and treatments that ease the suffering and pain cancer patients have to endure.
If you have not already donated to this cause please donate anything you can to http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/ every penny really does help.