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‘Cancer: Through Our Eyes’ creative art exhibition highlights the impact of cancer


The Western Trust, together with Macmillan Cancer Support and local cancer charities Cancer Focus NI, Care for Cancer (Omagh) and SWELL – Supported we Live Life (Enniskillen) are holding a creative art exhibition called ‘Cancer: Through Our Eyes’ to highlight the impact of cancer on those diagnosed, their families and the staff who care for them.

The exhibition is free and open to the public Monday 19th – Sunday 25th February at the Playhouse.  As access times vary it is recommended those wishing to view the exhibition contact the Playhouse in advance on (028) 71268027.

Maura McClean, Macmillan Engagement Lead for Northern Ireland, said:

“Cancer is so personal. It can impact people’s lives in a variety of ways. Relationships, their bodies, their finances, how they are feeling, their ability to do the things they love and so much more.”

Macmillan funded 13 creative arts projects throughout Northern Ireland to mark World Cancer Day on 4th February, holding a regional exhibition of all the artwork at The MAC, Belfast.  Participating in the projects has created a space for people affected by cancer to explore and express their own personal experiences and it’s been absolutely amazing to see the artwork produced.  It’s just so incredibly imaginative, inspiring and moving.  Following a successful exhibition in Belfast, we’re proudly sponsoring this exhibition at the Playhouse to highlight the projects funded in the Western Trust area including those delivered at the Macmillan Health and Wellbeing Campus at Altnagelvin which is service providing supports to anyone impacted by cancer in partnership with the Western Trust and Macmillan.”

‘Cancer: Through Our Eyes’ creative art exhibitionLesley Finlay, Macmillan Health & Wellbeing Campus Manager secured funding to deliver three projects:

“We were delighted to be part of the regional exhibition and so in awe of the calibre of the work produced we wanted to bring it to a local audience in the city and are delighted Macmillan have supported us to host an exhibition in the Playhouse.”

“Our projects included delivery of a shared reading programme facilitated by Verbal.  A group of 7 people who experienced a cancer diagnosis discussed carefully selected pieces of writing with themes to help them explore their diagnosis before writing their own pieces and recording these to form a digital story.  We also ran programme for children and young people who have experienced a cancer diagnosis themselves, the cancer diagnosis of a parent or who have been bereaved as a result of cancer.  The young people were supported by parents and carers to produce a piece of wooden artwork in the shape of an eye to represent how they viewed their experience of cancer.  Our final project involved a group of women who have experienced a cancer diagnosis, the diagnosis of a loved one, who have been bereaved by cancer or who work in cancer services.  The group produced three large panels made from wool using symbolism from nature to portray their experience of cancer ‘diagnosis’ ‘treatment’ and ‘life beyond’.”

Service Users at ‘Cancer: Through Our Eyes’ creative art exhibition

Local woman Cathy participated in the wool based project and said:

“Working on this project was amazing.  I love knitting and crocheting, so from the first day we met and brainstormed ideas it was great seeing our vision come together and we were all absolutely delighted with the final piece which shows our cancer journeys through our eyes.  It was also great that the group included not only those who had a cancer diagnosis but also those who cared for loved ones or lost anyone due to cancer.  We incorporated all these elements into our project.”

The exhibition also includes Cancer Focus NI’s a set canvases painted by a group of men who have experienced a cancer diagnosis and Care for Cancer’s display of decorative wooden boxes adorned with abstract prints and decorative collages containing personal items highlighting the individual stories of women who have received a cancer diagnosis.  SWELL produced a collaborative art piece entitled ‘Disrupter’ portraying the disruptive impact of cancer on our lives by a group of people who have experienced a cancer diagnosis as well as a series of individual paintings.

North West Cancer Centre staff also had an opportunity to create a collaborative piece using mixed media materials. Debbie Hunter, Macmillan Personalised Care Facilitator co-ordinated the project and describes:

“Our staff have a critical role in supporting both patients with cancer and their families and this role can impact on them personally as well as professionally.  North West Cancer Centre staff were invited to use a range of materials to create 56 discs connected by chains representing the secure safety net and team approach staff form when united together to support each other.  The discs are hung from a branch which signifies the strength of North West Cancer Centre.”