Out of pain, a thing of beauty

Kevin and Elaine
My husband Kevin with Elaine from Cancercare

This is a very personal story involving me, my husband and my art. It completely comes from my heart and is a tribute to our local Cancercare treatment centre where all the doctors, radiologists and staff through their compassion and caring made a bad situation into a much more bearable process.

When Kevin, my husband, was diagnosed with throat cancer last year we were devastated.  Kevin was offered radiation treatment, because an operation would not have been possible due to his other health issues.

When we went to Cancercare in Somerset West we were very pleasantly surprised at the care and dedication of the oncologist, the radiologist and the whole staff who helped us there.  They made it so much easier for us to handle the 7-week course of treatment which was daily from Monday to Friday.

Kevin retained his sense of humour throughout and I think everyone appreciated it.  There was just one bugbear, ‘the mask’ which was designed to keep his head and shoulders perfectly still during the treatment.  Kevin hated it with a vengeance and when we were presented with it at the end of the treatment, Kevin looked at it with horror.

My reaction as an artist was that I must do something with it.  I must create a thing of beauty, but still represent all the pain and make a meaning of what Kevin went through during its use.  The red rope represents the pain and the burning, the open mouth the panic of breathing, the spiral is the radiation and the colours are the South African Cancercare.

I presented the sculpture to Elaine Westraadt, radiologist from Cancercare’s Vergelegen Centre at the opening of my gallery’s most recent exhibition: ‘Loose and Wonderful‘.

Kevin is doing well following the treatment and I am busy creating further ‘mask sculptures’ bringing beauty out of pain and hope out of suffering.’  The sculptures are on exhibition at my gallery: Bright Street Gallery, 33 Bright Street, Somerset West.


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