I recently participated in Courage Unmasked, a program that was developed by head and neck cancer survivors to help raise money for head and neck cancer patients in financial need. The hope was to increase public awareness of the profound impact cancer has on patients, their loved ones, and society at large. Through this program patients donate their radiation masks to artists who use the mask to create a work of art. Once completed the masks were auctioned off at an event to raise money for patients in need.
All masks will be on display at Vanderbilt's Sarratt Gallery October 13-November 21. You can read more about the program here.
My mask was inspired by my love for bumblebees and the myth that with their heavy bodies and light wings, it is aerodynamically impossible for the bee to fly...but they still do.
I first sprayed the yellow mask white and removed the plastic frame. Then I folded paper into hexagon shapes and sewed it to the mesh like structure. The 'bees' body was created from one of the snaps on the frame and the wings were pierced out of copper and left unvarnished so the copper will tarnish naturally overtime. A tangle of thread and taffeta hang from the inside of the mask as a representation of a beehive as well as the tangle of emotions that follow the diagnosis and treatments.
Cancer in one-way or another has affected all artists who participated. This is a cause that is close to my heart and I hope that through this small gesture of art many people are helped through the program.
Me with the mask I created
Exhibition at Sarratt Gallery