I've begun working on my radiotherapy mask for You , Me, and the Big C in earnest now. The aim is to repurpose a radiotherapy mask as a piece of art, based on the story of the person whose mask it is.
(For more details about what this is and why, see this earlier blog post).
The person whose mask I have is Lisa Reed, and you can read her story of living with cancer here. Please note that it is very frank, and speaks of the physical and mental anguish the cancer caused her.
I've attached a pile of the doll parts to her right shoulder, and a doll's calf to her jaw, along with trucks and tow trucks to represent our bodies being "our own salvage yards" and Lisa's jaw being reconstructed with parts of her fibula. She has the packed bag on her left shoulder.
I will say, hot glue is messy and I'll have to go back and do some tidying! My skills with it need some work!
In the photo below, the most recent one, I'm seeing what the mask looks like with a defiant Wonder Woman stood atop the dinner table that caused Lisa so much heartbreak and pain.
I've not got a huge amount more to do on this, and I will post another update here when I can.
I'm going to see how the mask looks adorned with a wig - preferably black in keeping with the Wonder Woman idea, and maybe add some more details to the jaw and tongue to highlight them.
My main worry at this point, is that this mask will look very strange, quite bizarre, and quite surreal when it's finished - even grotesque. I don't think it will look "pretty".
I don't know if it should.
I do know that when asked to repurpose this mask as art, based on Lisa's story, these are the ideas that occurred to me.
Lisa's story uses quite bizarre and surreal imagery, and talks about things that are not pretty and sometimes quite visceral. I've been fortunate enough to not experience cancer first-hand, or even really second-hand - not up close - so I'll admit to not knowing what the experience is like. But it strikes me from what I do know about it, and from reading Lisa's story, that it is not pretty and that it takes one's life to some strange, bizarre, visceral, even grotesque places.
I'm hoping that this mask will be appropriate for that.