PAMELA M. SERETNY

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 3, 2002

Where Death is Thy Sting? mixed media 2.5 x 6 feet 1994


During my college years, my two-year-old half-sister became gravely ill and was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Because of my experience with her, I returned to college and became an occupational therapist. Occupational therapy has both supported my art and motivated it as I have served the disabled and ill.

I lost one grandmother to breast cancer, the other to bone cancer, and my 61-year-old mother to multiple myeloma. "Where Death is Thy Sting?" was done one month after her death. As an artist who is Christian, I desired to capture my and my mother's understanding of death as a memorial and tribute to her. Hers was a valiant fight after a valiant life.

Art allowed me to tear and rip and glue and paint as I physically gave expression to my grief. Art was a crucial part of my healing. Cancer did not conquer our love for each other, and this was the victory we shared.