Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sarah Dees (26)

-Cancer Woman-
Acrylic on Canvas, 38 x 46 inches.

-Hope Shining Through-
Acrylic on canvas, 18 by 24 inches.

-Breath of Life-
Acrylic on canvas, 18 by 24 inches.

Sara writes:

This painting Cancer Woman was made while I was going through cancer treatment for colorectal cancer and I didn't yet know if I would survive. I painted it to show at the annual Cancer Survivor's Celebration and after the event I donated it to the Gulfcoast Oncological Foundation in thanks for a grant they gave me to help pay my mortgage for a few months while I was in treatment. It now hangs in the Oncology Ward of St. Anthony's hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida and I hear the staff and patients really love it.

It's is very symbolic and it was difficult to do, and I could never have created it if I had not experienced the reality of cancer treatment. I wanted to show beauty, strength and resilience, while also showing pain, suffering and emotional trauma. The rich colors are meant to symbolize pain, and the flowers are cancer tumors. She is "everywoman" going through cancer. Her hair is falling out and her breast is missing because of breast cancer. She has a port in her chest like I did, and the cactus flowers show the burns like I had from radiation. She is suffering, but she is still beautiful, facing forward, with hope, a survivor. I mean for her to show the hurt she feels, yet still inspire. I used my own body for the model but my daughter posed for the face. It's kind of abstract, in a way.

For a long time I was ashamed of my cancer and wouldn't tell anyone and took great care to cover up my port and then my scar. I didn't want to talk about it. At this point, I am finally okay with the experience and proudly showing my scar as my badge of courage, my survival. Now that I am 3 years past treatment I am ready to make a new painting, and planning on entering it in the Lilly Oncology on Canvas exhibition, to show what I feel like now, a little farther down the road as a cancer survivor. I feel that the journey is continuing and my perspective keeps changing and evolving. It is not over, and although I am "cancer free", I still deal with side effects of cancer treatments daily, my body is damaged, and I am a long way from what you could consider recovery. After the initial euphoria of survival passed, I sank into the long hard road of surviving survival, which is another chapter in the story. I'll send the new painting when it comes.

They came November 15th, 2010:

About Hope Shining Through & Breath of Life:

What I like about the paintings is the progression of time, the idea that things get better, and there is survival possible, of the body, mind, heart and spirit.

Sara Dees Art on OncoLink
Sara Dees has a fb-page 'Cancer-Financial Assistance, Resources, Scholarships, Info'