MIRIAM STERN

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

Bad Hair Day oil on canvas 36 x 48 inches 1995


Head Scarves Monoprint 18 x 26 inches 1993

This past year, two women from my community, both under the age of 50, died of cancer, leaving families with children, the youngest six years old. Their deaths shook this community, myself included, in a profound way.

The atmosphere was different from other funerals I have been to. We weren't just crying for our friend and her family, we were crying for ourselves. We realized that we are all vulnerable. Looking around the room I thought of who would be the next victim of this disease; who would fight and be victorious, who would not? These dark thoughts and feelings stayed with me for a long period of time. They are still hovering over me and my community.

Often, the wigs women wear while battling cancer do not really hide the ravages of their ordeal. These pieces deal with that issue and what the wigs or scarves reveal, or mask, about the women who wear them. The feelings the faces express are fear, rage, resignation, bitterness, and heartbreak.

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