The Bodice Project is thrilled to have many artists from the Mid Atlantic area contribute to this sculptural exhibit.
Selected Artist's Statements:
The inspiration for this work comes from a brave woman, Alyssa, who grew up watching her parents survive multiple bouts of cancer. When genetics research identified the BRCA-1 gene mutation in her mother during the 2nd round of breast cancer, and then subsequently in her, Alyssa decided at age 40 to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. Alyssa was a single parent of an 8 and 10 year old and the wait and see approach wasn’t for her. She needed to be in control of her health and this was the practical thing to do that would allow her to plan sensible arrangements in advance for her children while she recovered, which minimized their fear, as well as the disruption in their lives. Alyssa handled her decisions and medical procedures with intellect, grace, and a spirit of freely communicating to the people in her life by sharing her intimate story via blogging.
This sculpture is of a dear friend who has had a mastectomy and partial reconstruction. She said modeling for this project gave her a sense of community. She used the word ascension about her journey. The feathers turning into birds struck me as an image that would honor her. The yellow represents the third chakra which involves energy, vitality, desire and power. I wanted this piece to represent her beauty and bravery.
Nike is the Greek Goddess of victory. When I met Victoria, I was struck by her vitality and indomitable spirit. I mentioned that I was getting ready to start a sculptural project to raise breast cancer awareness and that I wanted to base the sculpture on Nike. When Victoria told me that she was undergoing reconstruction after a double mastectomy, I realized I had found my Nike. She generously agreed to be my model, and shared with me that she hoped to have dogwood blossoms tattooed across her her chest, in lieu of tattooed nipples. When I began the pastel work on the linen I looked up the meaning of the dogwood blossom; "Love, undiminished by adversity". I hope Victoria's Nike spirit shines through this piece.
I was inspired by the number of cancer survivors and their determination to fight the disease. I want to ensure the women who are struggling with the aftermath of surgery, that true beauty does not come with the shape or form of your body but rather the beauty of your soul. It is who you are that makes you beautiful, not what you look like. It is the love in your heart and the care you express to others that will have an impact in the world.
I wanted to the soul of the wood to shine through. It is the character, grain pattern and its flow that should be admired, not the simplistic representation of the breasts.
Rose Sanders Mendez
In Greek mythology Artemis, despite her “wildness” (her refusal to conform to conventional ways or tradition) and her fierce independence, was depicted as one of the compassionate, healing goddesses. Of all the Greek goddesses, she was the most self-sufficient, living life on her own terms, comfortable both in solitude and in holding the reins of leadership. This piece for the Bodices for Goddesses clearly shows a love for the female torso – almost bursting with a robust roundness; her generous nature, heart and soul barely contained.
With two and half days and zero dollars, I created something out of nothing. This is one of those things women are good at. Often they are mothers with very limited incomes and very little time…..and breast cancer. Still, they are able to facilitate the things that ‘adorn’ our lives. Beauty, color and magic come leaping out of their hearts and into the worlds of the ones they love without spending a dime or an eternity. They firmly believe in miracles.
While I was working on the bodice I was thinking about people’s battle with cancer and the amazing strength that it takes to become a warrior, to fight for your life. I have lost friends and family to cancer but I have also seen friends fight and survive. The bodice is a sort of battledress, a suit of armor. Part of the process of creating this was a prayer for a friend who was fighting.
I wanted to let women know that the possibilities are truly endless through tattooing to reconnect them with their bodies after breast cancer. Healing through art is an amazing process and tattooing gives me the opportunity to heal women through art while empowering them to take back control of how they want their bodies to be seen, thus the possibilities are endless.
Tina Marie is a tattoo artist in Sandy Spring Maryland that specializes in aureola restoration for women that have had mastectomies as well as eyebrows for women that have lost their eyebrows due to chemotherapy.