Lady lump and lockdown collection

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Having lost someone I loved dearly in 2018 I promised him I would do something to make him proud. So when in March 2020 my life took a different direction when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It brought so many different emotions and feelings, from control to guilt, that I wanted to express this in a creative way.

The latest temporary exhibition to be presented by Arts for Health MK, entitled Lady Lump and Lockdown Collection, is located in Milton Keynes University Hospital’s Cancer Centre. It presents a collection of photographs and accompanying prose by artist Penny Mitchell, an MKUH patient who frequently walked the corridor in which her work is currently being shown.Penny kindly offered her work for display with the intention of bringing a momentary sense of colour and joy to others, but also with the particular hope that other cancer patients looking at the work would recognise that the person who made it understands, and for a moment that they perhaps wouldn’t feel so alone.In 2020, Penny was diagnosed with breast cancer. Creativity became her comfort blanket and afforded an opportunity to tell a different story, her story, whilst life around her changed dramatically but one thing remained constant.

Arts for Health MK, the independent charity who care for the Hospital Art Collection and who complement it each year with temporary displays, worked with Penny to help make the exhibition a reality. Twenty artworks are on public view in the corridor exhibition area linking the Cancer Centre to the Main MKUH site.The exhibition is also available to view online, at where voice recordings of Penny describing the emotions behind each photograph can also be accessed. Visitors can scan a QR code in the exhibition space to access the audio alongside the original framed works.

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Ben Heyworth, Director Arts for Health MK said:" We are delighted to exhibit Penny’s work, which through various media explores the lived experience of living with and beyond breast cancer. Penny’s honesty, humility and empathy really shine through the whole collection. I’m sure that other visitors to the cancer centre, both patients, carers and staff, will all find something that resonates personally with them amongst the artworks. It’s wonderful to work with such creative people to explore the health and wellbeing challenges they are facing. "

Penny nowPenny now
Penny now

Vanessa Holmes, Associate Director of Fundraising and Charity, and Milton Keynes Hospital Charity said:"Once again, and in this anniversary year, MKUH is delighted to partner with Arts for Health MK with another superb multi-media exhibition that raises the voices of our patients and sensitively explores what it means to be affected by cancer. This timely exploration of the psychological and emotional impact of cancer and its treatments through photography and spoken word really highlights the complex and often fraught journey that many of our patients experience, and the ongoing challenge we all face in supporting people affected by cancer in Milton Keynes"."

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