Out of pain, a thing of beauty

This stylised mask was created by Somerset West artist and gallery owner, Di White, in tribute to her husband, Kevin, who recently underwent cancer treatment.

When local artist and gallery owner Di White opened Bright Street Gallery’s latest exhibition on Friday March 3, she included a special presentation of a sculpture to Elaine Westraadt from Cancercare’s Vergelegen Centre in Arun Place, Somerset West.

The sculpture is a tribute to the work of Cancercare for local patients and, in particular for their compassionate and caring approach to the treatment of Di’s husband, Kevin.

Di explains how her sculpture came about: “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 seven-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 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.

“Kevin and I would like to thank all the doctors, radiologists and staff at Cancercare for their compassion and caring which made a bad situation into a much more bearable process.”

Kevin is doing well following the treatment and Di is forging ahead creating further mask sculptures bringing beauty out of pain and hope out of suffering.

The sculptures are on exhibition at Bright Street Gallery, 33 Bright Street, Somerset West.

Contact Di or Chris White on 021 851 2520 for more information.