Courage Cast in Stone

by Susan Pritchard

It is uncertain whether art truly has the capacity to heal, but standing tall, unashamedly displayed in the open, are three statues of women with one breast and one scar. Altered art and monuments, they reflect the treatment and survivorship of millions of women across the globe.

In the town of Spikersuppa, Norway, Cecilie by Håkon Anton Fagerås depicts Cecilie Flatval who is battling metastatic breast cancer.

It’s impossible to look away from these statues representing real women. They are in the park, in front of parliament, and on exhibit. They boldly state that breast cancer is universal and that beauty can still be found after losing breasts.

In Spain, Marina Vargas(r), the sculptor and subject of Intra-Venus, proudly raises a fist above her own mastectomy.
The Amazon by French artist Prune Nourry.

During a public performance in New York, artist Prune Nourry chiseled away at one breast of The Amazon, a 13-foot-tall concrete sculpture and ode her to her breast cancer journey. The artistic amputation reflects her own altered body. The giant warrior is covered with thousands of red incense sticks symbolizing the hot acupuncture that Nourry received. What remains is transformed art and a monument to the loss and healing experienced after mastectomy. 

These stunning works of art focus on the most visible effects of breast cancer treatment and suggest the hidden struggles known only to those diagnosed. Immortalizing and honoring this topic in stone inspires us to be visible and to raise our own fists in solidarity.

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