It turns out that I was a bit optimistic at the end of 2018 about being back on track. Coming to terms with what I’ve been through, and ongoing hormone therapy has taken quite a bit of getting used to. Good news though, my hair came back! I’ve carried on extending my printmaking skills at Curwen Print studio, leading regular art workshops and am finding my feet working “at home alone” instead of going out to work each day.
What a boost then to have BOTH of my entries for this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition shortlisted, and Sore with a Bare Head chosen for display (That’s two years in a row I’ve got in – not one for blowing my own trumpet but feeling quietly very satisfied).
Sore with a Bare Head (Chemotherapy Diary) Room VIII No 1288 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2019
The original sold straight away at the Private View day, but on the advice of my Curwen tutor, I had it professionally photographed before it went to London. The response has been very touching so I’m pleased to say that copies are available to buy and I’m using it as a fundraiser for Cancer Research UK and Macmillan. I wanted to get a good balance between care for people affected by Cancer and prevention and these two great charities seemed to fit the bill.
A2 Poster £28
A3 Giclee Print Personally signed and numbered, Limited Edition of 200 £35
Please note that Prints and Poster are supplied unframed. Price includes tracked postage and safe packaging within the UK. (Please enquire about prices for other destinations). £5 from every sale will be donated to the two charities named above.
Cheques can be sent to Stella Davis 72 Forest Road, Onehouse, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 3EP or you can email me for bank details email@example.com
This was my artist’s statement that accompanied the picture at the RA
In May 2018, after major surgery for Cancer, I celebrated my 60th Birthday by starting the chemotherapy that I’d really hoped to avoid. “It’s do-able” someone told me, and that was very helpful but I knew that some kind of ‘crossing off the days’ would work for me. Over 18 weeks, my blank chart gradually turned into a piece of art, tracking my moods and showing up patterns. It let me have a moan and enabled me to see the good things. Artwork kept me going – those were my sunshine yellow days. I was able to complete my Certificate in Printmaking Skills and make my dress for our daughter’s wedding. I spent time on my beloved old narrowboat when I could. Obviously there were down days too, and a lot of self-medication to get used to. I poured out my feelings and marked off my progress.
I’ve been amazed and touched by the responses to it – from people with and without Cancer. It is a complex piece; it encourages and starts conversations , it supports by shared experience, but mostly its hopeful. I had a long talk with someone looking at it who was trying to understand what her brother might be going through. I’d be the first to say that everybody’s experience will be different – but it’s a good way in to asking “was it like this for you?” I’ve given a copy to my local Macmillan Unit – I owe a great deal to them and the wonderful NHS staff at West Suffolk Hospital. A friend who is an Oncology nurse has bought one for her local BMI Hospital and is going to use it with the support group that she runs.
“my life is on that page” “it helped me understand what chemo might be like” “it’s so hopeful”
The person who bought the original has had chemo too “It took my breath away – I had to have it and ran to the desk” she told me.
So it’s taking on a life of it’s own. Please help spread the word so it can help more people. But most of all enjoy it and celebrate it as a joyous piece of art . Every day now is a gift.
Stella Davis August 2019