Breast cancer runs in my family. The sugar skull pattern on the breasts of my sculpture is a hint to my own family history. Doctors diagnosed my mother as well as my grandmother with breast cancer. My piece is not just about death, it’s about how you live when life is out of your control and you can’t do the things you want to do. The diagnosis of a potentially fatal disease doesn’t give you a choice. My mother as well as my grandmother had a core strength that allowed them to go with dignity through medical consultations, surgeries and cancer treatment. It’s a huge thing for a woman to lose her breasts, and people don’t talk about the wounded femininity.
“Wounded Femininity” isn’t just about my ancestors - it is about me and many other women, who are in a similar situation. To be honest, I love my breasts – they are the architecture of my femininity. My curves make me feel like a woman. They are a curse and a blessing at the same time. My sculpture is a plaster cast of my own body. For the torso, I used eco-friendly Lokta Paper that has been handcrafted in Nepal by Women Co-operatives. I recycled the pearls from former art shows, and incorporated a pair of broken earrings into the piece. The lace comes from a local fabric store called "FabuLace".
The monarch butterflies, coming out of the belly, symbolize one of many transformational moments. Each butterfly is hand folded and painted with fluorescent paint that glows in the dark. My mother’s and grandmother’s breast cancer changed my perception of femininity, motherhood, and mortality. There is a strong chance that they both carried a faulty gene, which I also have inherited. I am always accompanied by the fear of history repeating itself. Because of this, I do my best to live in the moment and make the most of life.
I collected quotes of survivors about what was the hardest part of having breast cancer. I appreciate my health, and I want to make women aware of breast cancer with my installation – encourage them to seek medical advice or alert them to the risks, which so many women face. If cancer is found at an early stage, there is hope. So go to preventive screenings, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Never give up!