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"Examining Our Breasts" art exhibit at the Lebel Gallery on Huron Church Rd. opened March 23 and runs through to March 31. The exhibit of approximately 35 artworks by students and artists from the community is being sponsored in part by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the School of Nursing and the School of Visual Arts to promote breast health education and screening.
The initial idea came from Dr. Barbara Thomas of the School of Nursing, who has been studying knowledge, attitudes and other aspects of breast cancer in our society for many years. She approached Visual Arts Professor Susan Gold/Smith and Dr. Anne Forrest from the Women’s Studies department for this project.
In the five weeks leading up to the exhibit, discussions between the disciplines to understand each other’s ‘languages’ and to exchange ideas. These discussions are still ongoing and there will be a symposium held in October with speakers and artwork from this exhibit. The exhibit and symposium run in conjunction with International Women’s Day and Breast Cancer Awareness month respectively.
The Nursing department helped to find a focus for this exhibit. "Breast cancer survivors often use art, writing and poetry to express their feelings," says Dr. Thomas. "This project gives a more positive perspective to promote breast health and what breasts mean to women."
This exhibit is unique in that although it was done in the name of breast health and awareness, it goes further in its theme to include issues of body image. The young student artists were particularly interested in deconstructing values regarding body image and its prejudices.
This project is being termed as ‘creative research’ where "things don’t have to be quantifiable to be relevant," says Professor Gold/Smith.
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