What better way to end Pink October than to pay tribute to breast cancer survivors? Sycaruse University launched exactly such an event onWednesday, Oct 27. “Look Now: Facing Breast Cancer” is a photographic project that will feature a series of portraits of women who have faced, fought, and triumphed over the monster that is breast cancer. It aims “to bring awareness of the emotional and physical aspects of breast cancer.”
In our society, looks are very important. For women with breast cancer, the loss of breasts and hair, physical attributes which make women attractive, is a big blow. This is what the artist will focus on.
Most projects on breast cancer survivorship focus on celebrities. The portraits that artist Angelika Rinnhofer created and is planning to create would not be of the rich and famous but ordinary women like you and me. This week’s launch started with portraits of 3 central New Yorkers. The project will last for a year as the artist continues to create more portraits of more survivors of different ages, ethnicity and levels of surgery. The target is to have 20 to 25 double portraits, one with the survivor clothed, the other with the survivor nude in the upper torso.
One of the survivors already photographed is Goenka who stated:
“Breast cancer is a disease that sucks you in, chews you up and spits you out. Some women lose their breasts. Most lose their hair. And many lose their lives. But all those who survive lose their sense of themselves and never really feel whole again. I know this because I am a breast cancer survivor myself.”
Each portrait will tell a different story, yet with a common theme. Despite the uniqueness of each case, the portraits will depict the survivors “as vibrant and empowered” and despite undergoing surgery that might have led to loss of 1 or both breasts, are “still whole.”
Says the artist:
What the project aims to do:
- [Resist] our culture’s tendency to abstract, obscure or allegorize illness, “Look Now” bears witness to the breast cancer that exists all around us here in our own region.
- “Women’s breasts have always been objectified by society and the media [making their loss] even more traumatizing.” [The project tries] “to heal and restore a sense of wholeness through the power of the individual portrait.”
- “Ultimately, the purpose of the show is multi-fold: to spread awareness, to serve as an artistic testament to living well after the disease and, above all, to empower the women who participate.”
The project will culminate in an exhibition in Pink October 2011. A documentary film about the project is also being planned.