Art exhibit displaying portrayals of cancer opens at Boone Hospital Center

Monday, April 5, 2010 | 5:54 p.m. CDT; updated 6:50 p.m. CDT, Monday, April 5, 2010
Estella Cupp, left, and Joyce DeWeese look at artwork on display in the Boone Hospital Center bridge over Broadway on Monday. The artwork on display was made by cancer patients and healthcare professionals and will be on display in the hospital's center bridge until April 23.

COLUMBIA — From around the country, patients, their families and caregivers have poured their feelings about cancer into artwork now on display at the Boone Hospital Center.

"Oncology On Canvas" opened Monday on the hospital bridge over Broadway.

If you go

What: "Oncology On Canvas" art exhibit

Where: Boone Hospital Center bridge across Broadway

When: Until April 23, culminating an Artrageous Friday event that day.

Cost: Free

Planned to coincide with National Cancer Awareness Month, the 580 pieces on display include photographs, oils, watercolors, pastels and mixed media collected from entries across the country.

"Cancer has a dark and a light side," said Yvonne Fuqua, a breast-cancer patient who also works at the hospital at Women's Health Associates. She hinted that she may enter the next competition.

Fuqua said she would paint a dark storm with angels carrying a person through the dark side to the light.

"At the end of that tunnel it's like, 'Yay, I can have my hair back,'" she said.

A cancer diagnosis carries a lot of emotion, mostly anger, said Fuqua who paints as a hobby.

"Art is a way to express the inner turmoil," she said. It can document how an artist has changed and grown because of the experience.

The entries identify the artists only as patient, caregiver or family member. Some have accompanying narratives to explain the meaning of the piece.

In a narrative with a mixed-media piece, titled "The Healing Pear," the artist explained how a colleague told her to "paint the cancer and then make it go away".

Alicia Baim was in the hospital Monday while her father had surgery, and said she stumbled upon the art pieces.

"I'm pretty impressed," she said. "The one with the pear and the tumor, it gave me goosebumps."

Director of Patient Care Services Laura Noren said the hospital recognizes that art is part of the healing process.

"This exhibit is connecting patients and visitors in the hospital to what it feels like to be experiencing an illness," Noren said.

Available to view for the next three weeks, the pieces will be the designated display for Artrageous Friday on April 23. It is open to the public.

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