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Sculpture exhibit at UVA promotes emotional healing for breast cancer survivors

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 9:12 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A new art exhibit at the University of Virginia Health System is helping women and men heal, and build relationships, after life-changing diagnoses.

The Bodice Project’s exhibit outside of UVA Health’s Battle Building gives a window inside the lives touched by breast cancer.

Through the glass, people can see more than 20 sculptures, each one a powerful tribute to someone who has survived breast cancer. Artists met and interviewed survivors and then used their skills to create art -- helping those who have fought some of life’s toughest battles feel stronger and more confident with their physique.

“When the breasts are being removed or changed or it’s just so traumatic for them. So this was a way, I just felt, like it was something that could lift women up,” said Cynthia Fraula-Hahn, an artist and the President of the not-for-profit The Bodice Project.

The artists wrap the women to make a cast of their bodies and then turn those into artwork.

“It’s very powerful and it really makes kind of a healing ground,” Fraula-Hahn said.

Amy Childers is the model for one sculpture. She’s what she calls a “previvor” because she got a prophylactic mastectomy after she was positive for a deleterious mutation.

“I thought, well, you know, I might be able to make some lemonade out of this,” Childers said.

Inside her sculpture are words from Childers’ journal, like “wisdom.”

They are words that passersby can read, written in a medium for which Childers is grateful.

“It gave me something else to think about during a time of immense stress and discomfort,” she said. “It gave me a connection with another person who was willing to listen to my story at the time that I needed to tell it.”

The sculptures will remain on display through January 3, 2022.

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