The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 3, 2002
Amazon, The Offering plaster fabric, paper, paint, burlap 89 x 25 x 5 inches 1989
Amazon, Night Light plaster fabric, paint, brass, copper, shell, feathers, electric light 28 x 36 x 19 inches 1994"The Offering" was created to transform the crisis of mastectomy into an empowering experience. This woman is a musician. I imagined an image of power out of adversity, her scars turned into exciting body ornamentation usually bestowed on warriors who have proved their bravery in war. The sutures are turned into harp strings she can pluck. The right hand offers the lost breast without shame, because she said it took losing it to learn what true giving meant to her. There is strength, determination, and acceptance in her pose.
"Night Light" is a casting of a woman in her late 30s who had a radical mastectomy in 1991. The image of the flame and of the missing breast as an altar came about from listening to her speak about the need for hope and of giving up a breast for life. There is light in the altar (the heart's chamber), light in her protective hands, and light emanating from her whole torso. The sharp, jagged edges of copper and brass change from knife blades to flames of more light. She is the altar. She is the source of light.