The 2016 Home and Garden Expo (HGE) in support of Relay for Life of Second Life and the American Cancer Society, is currently under way, and runs through until Sunday March 6th, 2016. As a part of this year’s event, HGE includes a number of art installations to be found through the event regions.
One of these is an installation be Decades Galleries, entitled Wounded Angels. Developed by Sisterbutta and Robijn Resident, it offers an interactive exhibit honouring breast cancer sufferers through the ages, as seen through the eyes of some of history’s greatest artists.
Wounded Angels comprises three parts: a garden meadow in which is set a comfortable place to sit, located close to a tree around which a series of famous paintings placed around tree; a companion book, with the same title, which can be obtained by clicking on the in-world copy close by and then worn as a HUD; and your imaginary companion for your journey into the meadow, as Sisterbutta explains in the introduction to the book:
An unseen woman of the present time, who has recently been diagnosed with spreading breast cancer, comes to a meadow behind her home … The woman, an artist by training and occupation, has set up around a tree reproductions of artworks and decorative items she loves the most … Faced with the threat of her returned cancer, the woman comes here often to sit and look at what she loves, choosing beauty and the exuberance of creation to celebrate her life as well a to fight for it.
Visitors are invited to walk in the garden with the Unseen Woman, studying the paintings and either reading her reflections on each of them, or by clicking on the paintings to obtain a note card on each one.
The result is a journey through a new perspective on breast cancer, presented in a very personal way – through the eyes of the Unseen Woman, as she seeks comfort and strength in the art and items set out around her tree.
It’s also personal in another way as well, as SisterButta indicated to me, “in a sense, this is what I would do if I were given such a diagnosis…gather up the things that I love and that have meaning and gather strength from them.”
But while taking comfort in those things we have loved throughout lives, why use art in the depiction of breast cancer?
“Because science show us the facts,” Sisterbutta explains. “Journalists report on the state of current research. Governments and other third-party payers look at the bottom line. Business and industry measure the impact in terms of lost productivity in the workplace.
“But is the artist who shows us cancer’s human face as he or she portrays the disease in a living, breathing, feeling individual and makes this cancer almost unbearably palpable.”
The keepsakes and items placed out around the tree with the art can also be touched. These have been donated by members of SL’s history and education communities, and can be purchased either directly or via the vendor boards on the meadow fences. All proceeds from sales go to RFL of SL.
Wound Angels may be a small display in the scheme of things at HGE 2016, but it is one that is beautifully brought together and shouldn’t be overlooked when hurrying between the larger exhibit spaces. So do please be sure to stop by during your HGE explorations.
- Wounded Angels, Hope 2, HGE (until sunday, March 8th) – Rated: Moderate