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Welcome to "Lila's Breast", dedicated to women who have survived breast cancer and mastectomies.

In celebration of wholeness and well-being, we are creating 42 sculptures of single-breasted women. Each woman who models for a sculpture is replacing the absent breast with something that holds personal the meaning for her--a symbol, a memory, hope.

Women who have endured mastectomies are faced with dual challenges. Not only must they focus on healing from disease and the painful ravages of surgery, they must also heal the emotional trauma of losing a breast--a part of the body that symbolizes womanhood. After mastectomy, women often find themselves feeling devalued, less than whole. Their self-esteem may be diminished as femininity and sensuality become of secondary importance in their ongoing struggle to be disease-free. In fact, emotional scarring may hinder physical healing.

Our purpose is to replace negative images of self-devaluation with images of the true value that each woman is--whole and complete even when missing a breast, strong and beautiful in her asymmetry. A single-breasted woman is a woman who is surviving. Each such woman's life is a triumph.

We are showing 42 sculptures of single-breasted women to celebrate that triumph. Our venue includes photographs and poetry. We have exhibited this collection at various functions in the New Jersey area, and we envision that future fund-raisers produced by other organizations will borrow the sculptures to show at their events. If your organization is willing to exhibit pieces from Lila's Breast, or contribute to this endeavor in any way, feel free to contact us for any specific information you might need. We thank you for your consideration.

Ann Hutton,
Executive Producer of "Lila's Breast"

The Story of Lila's Breast....

This project came into being when an artist and the daughter of a breast cancer victim met. Bill Giacalone is known for his lively, provocative erotic paintings, and in recent years he has experimented with plaster body casting to create life-sized sculptures. When he invited Ann Hutton to work with him, she was then enrolled in a Leadership Course at Landmark Education Corporation that required her to produce a project. It was National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and breast cancer was a disease that had touched her life. Her mother, Lila, had succumbed after enduring a mastectomy and eight subsequent years of suffering. This happened in the days before radiation treatment and chemotherapy, when surgery was always radical and long-term survival was not expected. Recognizing the miracle it was that her mother had lived as long as she did, Ann recalled images of Lila. She recognized that her very imprint of womanhood was of that beloved, single-breasted body. She remembered the scar that started in the armpit and trailed across Lila's chest. And she remembered her mother's one concession to vanity--a single, foam rubber falsie that she tucked into her brassiere every morning, and returned to the dresser top each night.

With thoughts of her own healthy-but-aging body, Ann considered that working with Bill might give her the opportunity to make a statement about the way our society views women. Growing awareness of the ravages of breast cancer prompted her to contemplate how much more critical those views might be when aimed at women who have been forced to redeem that all-important indicator of their femininity--the breast. Reminiscing on the strength and unselfconscious sacrifice of her own mother, she proposed a project that would serve to honor and celebrate women who have undergone mastectomies. Bill was enthusiastic, and together they have generated the creation of 42 sculptures of single-breasted women.

Every woman who models for Lila's Breast chooses what to attach to the sculpture in replacement of the breast. Not all models have had mastectomies, so those pieces must undergo the removal of one breast. When Bill extracted the first piece fresh from the mold, he remarked how tragic it is as an artist to have to mutilate the sculpture by removing a breast--and therefore, how much more traumatic it must be for any woman to face her own impending loss. Indeed, each model addresses the issue symbolically in what she chooses to put in replacement of the breast on the sculpture.

Since its inception, the project has attracted other artists, photographers, and people who may or may not have experienced breast cancer in their lives. Some models, like Ann, are the daughters of victims. Others may have had close brushes with the disease, or have had lumpectomies. Still others are simply intrigued by the boldness of the project as a statement about women in our society.

In this regard, Ann and Bill intend for this exhibit to provoke important questions, like--what determines femininity? Sensuality? Are women who lack a breast whole and complete? Are they disfigured? How important is emotional well-being to healing and recovery? What do women give up when they have mastectomies? What do they gain, and how can they best be supported through the ordeal? And perhaps the most important question of all--how much longer must women fear the prospects of breast cancer and be offered mastectomy as the ultimate treatment?

Taking this project out into the community has elicited some very positive responses, and many other artists and photo journalists have become active participants. It is hoped that Lila's Breast becomes the provocation of answers to these questions, as well as a celebration of wholeness and well-being for all women.

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