Healing Icons Help Cancer Patients

Healing Icons sprang from South Carolina’s Heidi Darr-Hope’s personal journey through her life and her art. The mixed media artist’s exquisite website reveals that “creativity is her profound teacher, providing tools that enable her to dive deep into her life experiences, to wrestle with them over and over and finally to release them through the birthing process of the creative act. “

Her traveling exhibition, Sometimes Words Are Not Enough, displays color reproductions of artwork created by diverse cancer patients from a broad spectrum of life circumstances. This dramatic exhibition with support from the Sumter County Cultural Commission and the personal commitment of its director, Booth Chilcutt, will be displayed at the University of South Carolina Sumter Umpteenth Gallery at the end of September, just in time to be viewed at the October 4, Medical Humanities Program that I have been developing since May.

These are the words from Hedi Darr-Hope’s website.

The quality of the artwork is impeccable, a truly incredible achievement by individuals with no professional art training. Not only are the pieces visually and symbolically profound, the viewer receives an intimate glimpse into the frightening, disorienting world of living with a life threatening disease. When words are not enough, these works of art speak from the heart to the soul.

Each unique piece of artwork tells a story. Collectively, they spread the gift of hope and healing to cancer patients, their families, and the community at large. It is my hope that these works will not only inspire you, but give you insight into the world of healing. I hope you will open your heart to the wisdom and honestly that is shared by all of these courageous, resilient individuals.

It takes more than medicine to heal. From ancient times, art has been used by all cultures to cope with life’s tragedies. The artist takes emotional pain, gives it meaning, and transforms it into a healing experience. The joys in life are lived; the pain in life is expressed. Her program, Healing Icons is dedicated to helping individuals and their families cope with cancer by transforming incredible psychosocial and spiritual trauma into a healing experience.

Recently, Hedi Darr-Hope along the San Diego-based writer, Sharon Bray, led a creative collaborative workshop, mixing words and art in Columbia, South Carolina for a dozen women bravely facing their cancer. On Bray’s website, she writes poignantly about the “Metaphors of Illness.”

“A metaphor is a comparison of one thing to another, for example, “illness as a disturbed country.” It’s a powerful literary device. By comparing one thing to another, we see or understand it differently. Metaphors offer powerful ways to describe cancer and or other serious illness. They are a shorthand route to the way we experience and feel about illness. Metaphors take us deeper into our emotions and at the same time, allow the listener or reader to better understand our experience.”

Whether through words or art, more patients are discovering ways to find a voice and to give expression to healing.

Send me your stories.

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