An artist captures the experience of cancer treatment

A NEW exhibit in the area captures the desperate highs and lows of cancer treatment.

“Still Alive” is a collection of works by Julie Hollis who underwent treatment for breast cancer during the pandemic.

He documents his emotional roller coaster from diagnosis to all clear.

Julie, who now lives in Kirkcudbright, was diagnosed in 2020 and her treatment continued until 2021.

She said: “The paintings are an accurate rendition of how I felt throughout. With cancer treatment, you go through desperate highs and lows, and then there is exhaustion.

“Creating the work was cathartic for me. Sometimes I would sit in front of the easel and cry.

Her mixed-media Still Alive pieces are on display at the Made on Cloud 9 gallery in Kirkcudbright until June 18 and include a self-portrait she painted after undergoing a mastectomy.

Alongside the exhibition, she also hosted a series of free workshops where those directly affected by life-threatening illness can explore their own feelings and experiences by creating personal art journals.

It is part of the Together Again initiative, a grassroots arts and culture initiative organized by independent arts organization DG Unlimited with over £42,000 in funding from Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Julie said: “Having cancer treatment during lockdown meant there was a lot less support. You couldn’t meet people going through the same experience and discuss it – it was just a matter of going to the hospital relentlessly for chemo every two weeks.

“I realized there must be so many other people who have gone through similar things, so I decided to do the workshops.

“I just realized that so much is locked inside, and if these sessions can help people unlock some of what’s trapped inside, that will be great.”

One of the goals of Together Again was to promote well-being, recognizing that people have endured isolation and emotional pressures of all kinds as a result of the pandemic.

Stephen Lacey, Chairman of DG Unlimited, said: “Together Again has been very successful in promoting community events and grassroots arts and culture across the region. This is something that we felt was extremely important as part of the rebuilding process that needs to take place due to the pandemic.

“Julie’s exhibition and workshops mark a fitting conclusion to the season – they really encapsulate what we wanted to do – using the arts’ unparalleled ability to act as a catalyst and bring people together.”

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