Navigating the internal landscape: an artistic interpretation of disease includes 25 artists’ creative explorations of the impacts of cancer.
Key themes explored include diagnosis and biopsy, the invasion of malignant and benign tumours, the fear of pain and disease, and the significant impact that cancer has upon a person’s life and their loved ones.
The exhibition has been curated by an interdisciplinary team at the University of Tasmania, encompassing art, health science, education, engineering and business.
Lead curator, Dr Malcom Bywaters, said the exhibition aims to provide a new way of understanding and promote discussion about the impacts of cancer.
“In this exhibition, artists are exploring the way that cancer can impact us physically and emotionally, and searching for new ways to communicate those impacts,” Dr Bywaters said.
Many of the artist statements disclose personal experiences of cancer, particularly the emotional impacts they felt when loved ones and friends were diagnosed or suffering.
The works range from paintings and photography through to mixed media and sculpture. Despite the diversity of form, all of the pieces work together to provide emotional insights into the impacts of cancer.
Two pieces I particularly admired were Simon Ancher’s ‘Soul Mirror’ and a multimedia installation by Amelia Rowe.
Using myrtle, mirror and glass, Simon Ancher has created a series of suspended mirrors inspired by classic dressing room mirrors. According to the artist statement, the work was inspired by how he felt the day his mum called to tell him that she had recently been diagnosed with Leukaemia. More specifically, he has explored the “inner-reflection and soul searing that occurs when the people you know and love are affected by cancer,” Mr Ancher said in his artist statement.
This piece certainly encourages such inner-reflection, and moreover, it encourages viewers to see themselves as part of the exhibition, amidst reflections of the other works.
Amelia Rowe’s piece ‘UR223906’ similarly explores her mother’s experience with cancer. Ms Rowe said that she was influenced by the way that specialists discussed her mother’s diagnosis as if she wasn’t there. This work uses an x-ray lightbox, a digital image of her mother, a perfume bottle and human hair. An illuminated black and white image of a woman is displayed above a shelf that holds an empty bottle of Chanel no.5. In the artist statement, Ms Rowe described her mother’s “stoic gaze that masked her sadness” when she was told she could not wear her beloved Chanel no.5 during treatment.
Navigating the internal landscape: an artistic interpretation of disease is a touching exhibition which succeeds in its endeavour to explore and promote discussion about the physical and emotional impacts of cancer.
This exhibition is on display at the UTas Academy Gallery, Inveresk until 15 April.