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Lesson Plans

ID:UA Response #3

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Kerin Allen (
Mon, 07 Dec 1998 15:57:57 -0700

This response is a bit belated but the concept of interrelating a
terminal disease with artwork seemed at first bizarre then
...intriguing What I considered in this concept is the fragile nature
of the human being under siege. A fragility that is deliberately
compounded when undergoing 'treatment'. The 'treatment' hopefully
destroys that which would destroy the patient. However, I watched a
hopeful friend whittle away during her two year therapy as she battled
spinal cancer. This battle dissolved all the strength and vitality my
friend owned until she was but a wisp smoke with a name. One day that
wisp was no more and her name was engraved in stone.
In finding a correlation between the effects of this insidious
disease and an artwork that speaks to the fragile nature, I thought of
the "Sweet chestnut green horn" by Andy Goldsworthy.
The work, created from chestnut leaves and thorns, spirals leaf over
leaf into a horn of plenty. I likened it to the layers we humans use to
cover our bodies, our minds and our eyes. The dissolution of the green
horn must have been like that of my friend. Each day removing layer
upon layer until only a skeleton shell remained.
The idea of incorporating it into a art lesson has merit as 'cancer'
is unfortunately common in our daily vocabulary and the inclusion of
work that speaks to this will undoubtedly be enlightening. Although
pain and grief comes as a package deal with this incorporation, there is
one other concept that deserves recognition. This concept is
opportunity. Many times the disease is diagnosed with a time frame for
recovery or death. This is the opportunity of which I speak. This is
the time to do what needs to be done, to go where one needs to go, to
speak what needs to be spoken. The window of opportunity may be small
but it is usually there. A golden moment that should be taken.
Perhaps correlating cancer issues with artwork is not so bizarre or
far fetched after all. Perhaps it is a means of enlightenment to the
fragile nature of our world as well as ourselves. Perhaps the golden
opportunity is here and now.
Kerin Allen
From: Lynn Daubenspeck <daubenspeck.4>
Subject: ID OSU - Breast Cancer and Art

I am continuing my research on cancer and art. What I am focusing on at

the moment is the issue of loss associated with cancer. I welcome
individuals to e-mail me if they would be willing to answer some
questions regarding how it feels to undergo treatment for cancer, to
have body parts amputated to save life, or to have someone close to you
die of cancer.

I have presented a body of work in class including slides of artist
Hannah Wilke which dealt with her mother's and her own death from breast

cancer. Almost everyone has been, or will be, affected by dancer during

their lifetime. Cancer is usually accompanied by questioning, pain, and

grief. Educating children in the classroom about cancer will promote
awareness and understanding of the disease. There may even be a child
in their school, or a parent that is battling cancer. Through
education, students will have a better understanding of how do deal with

it when it arises in their own life.

Thank you to those of you have commented on my topic already, I
appreciate your help.

Lynn Daubenspeck