hope chest, raising awareness of hereditary cancers

Joan Prior, of Armstrong and Prior Inc., contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in participating in a collaborative art project. “Hope Chests: It’s What’s Inside”;  is an awareness campaign for the non-profit organization FORCE.  FORCE is a unique organization that supports an ever-increasing number of people in Arizona – and the country – affected by hereditary cancers.   Artist Carolyn Lavender suggested me because she knew I’d connect to the body element.  I said yes to Joan. I couldn’t say no to working on a plaster torso. I teach plaster mask making workshops.  Cause, form, and material are all a good fit for me. I wanted the experience.
I picked a wonderfully curvaceous torso. The plaster cast is of an actual BRCA positive women from Arizona.

I laid out colors and began painting in anatomy: mammary glands, and below liver, stomach, kidneys, large and small intestines, and a spleen. It wasn’t working, I wanted more pronounced design.

I’d completed a 3D object in Talavera design weeks earlier, so naturally I decide to paint Talavera pattern into the already set in anatomy shapes.  I make associations between the Talavera pattern and the idea of a matriarch.  It’s a natural, organic and strong design. It also has the fragile and stable implications of opaque ceramic ware. I particular like the feel that emerges as I work, that of a tribal tattoo.

To complete the design I finish the inside of the plaster mold and place string-like forms, representing the BRCA1 and BRCA2  protein (below) into the breast.

Select gallery and lobby spaces around the valley will be hosting the sculptures for a one week period beginning September 25th, 2011 until February 26, 2012.  At the end of their travel time they will be auctioned off to benefit FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer).

3 thoughts on “hope chest, raising awareness of hereditary cancers

  1. What a wonderful project! I love how you are carrying through with the Talavera patterns…and I think too it really makes for a powerful statement on the beauty of the female torso.


  2. Pingback: a frivolous post, or maybe it’s just easy | Monica Aissa Martinez

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