The Whole Woman: Portrait of BlossomsBy Susie Wong
With members of the Singapore General Hospital Breast Cancer Support Group
Singapore General Hospital
The Whole Woman presented the self portraits of 14 breast cancer survivors, revealing more than mere features and physical attributes. Through the vibrant colours and textures, the artworks created during the workshop were intimate portrayals of themselves after mastectomy. The strong presence of their triumph over adversities go beyond the confinements of the canvas. This exhibition of self portraits was a celebration of beauty, hope and courage in the women’s fight against breast cancer.
The objective was a simple one: To paint a self-portrait. As it was a group of Breast Cancer Survivors, each member was inclined to think about the context of the portrait in terms of this experience. The final effort was to stitch all the portraits together and hang them like single tapestries (there were three) which was a satisfying conclusion.
“Expression of myself in a poster…The real picture of me to see…Coming to terms with my body…a ‘Freak’ I felt…incomplete! To accept the before and after me is an achievement accomplished. Now I see a beautiful ME!” – Marie
“It was a liberating experience. It was a good day. It was a day when I could mix with and relate to others. I was happy. I did not have a sad thought in my mind. That’s why probably I look younger and more beautiful than I really am. I am quite pleased with the painting though it does not really look like me.”- Gloria
“I went through my first painful mammogram and wonder if we women should celebrate our bodies or think about them as baggage. I was not sure…but after these workshops, in the privilege accorded to me when these women paint frank portrayals of thier bodies, I do come to realize that women celebrate…in their ever resilient minds and spirit” – Artist facilitator Susie Wong