Facing a cancer diagnosis can suddenly change a person’s purpose and meaning of life. The Bodyscapes Drawing What Ails Us exhibition gave participants the opportunity to work toward something bigger –an interactive Bodyscapes Time for Reflection experience which would bring the healing effects of the artworks to everyone who attended the opening.
We gathered around Mer’s Drawing, Untitled, the externalized vision of the internal landscape. As Mer spoke the words of her poem, 4th Sign of the Zodiac, a more apt narrative of her journey with breast cancer, all eyes focused on her pastel drawing. The powerful image of “the glamour furnishings of her house ablaze”, which speaks of her body’s painful journey with illness was honored. Audience members learned that Bodyscapes artists smear pastel on the paper. They rub the colors on top of the line drawings of the part of their body most effected by cancer or cancer treatment as a mother rubs the back of her sick child to comfort. Symbolically, they caress their deep wounds.
We stood together. I asked the audience to call forth their deep empathy for the artist. Then, The Women’s Cancer Resource Center filled with the energy of the struggle between illness and wellness, compassion and intolerance, regret and hope, fear and grace. The Time of Reflection ended poignantly as we remembered all those living and dying from illness, addiction, unemployment and homelessness. The art of these remarkable women opened the pathway for everyone to tap into their capabilities for self and community healing.