Curator Statement

Scientists funded by the California Breast Cancer Research Program (CBCRP) are engaged in an urgent search for better ways to treat, cure, and prevent breast cancer. The goal is to end the suffering this disease causes. Expressions: The Art of Science and Healing portrays the human story that motivates all our research. Art helps us truly understand the experience of others. In this way, art is the link between science and empathic action.

Art and design reveal complexity while highlighting what is most important. The artists participating in this exhibit accepted an invitation to make sculptures in the form of breast prostheses. Some of the artists are women who have experienced breast cancer, but many are not. No matter who they were, the artists used the very thing that conceals the effects of breast cancer to reveal things that can guide our collective response to this complex disease.

The Breast Art sculptures show us what mastectomy can be like when the veils of shame and fear are lifted. We can look at breasts and their absence with new interest, without fear or pity. As we look at breast cancer and mastectomy straight on, we can find inspiration in the idea that a woman who has lost a breast to breast cancer may feel that she has become more of a woman, not less of a woman.

By combining art and science, Expressions: The Art of Science and Healing bridges the gap between facts and understanding. The scientific information reveals problems and shows how scientists are well on their way to solving them. The Breast Art deepens our understanding by interpreting the impact of breast cancer on the human spirit. The two parts together give a holistic view of breast cancer and mastectomy and point the way to work that still needs to be done to completely eliminate breast cancer and its devastating impact.