Today I went to a gallery exhibit featuring breasts. Large ones, small ones. Full ones, saggy ones. Young ones, old ones. Plump ones, missing ones. In the world of breasts it's hard to find two alike; even on the same body. One of the purposes behind The Beautiful Women Project is to show women of all ages every where the diversity of the female breast. We are not all suppose to look like the vixens we see in magazines and on the screen.
The project was created by Cheryl-Ann Webster, an artist out of Ottawa, Ontario. I first met Cheryl-Ann over a year ago when she was enlisting women to come and have their chests cast for this project (no I didn't volunteer). Immediately I was taken with the concept, especially after she explained the story of her 13 year old daughter coming home one day to inform her, a friend was saving her pennies for breast implants because she hated her breasts. I was dumbfounded by her story until I remembered, yes, as a teenager I too hated my breasts. Even now at the tender age of 36 I have thought pangs of surgery when I catch a glimpse of by two lumps of flesh in the mirror. It begs the question, why do women hate their breasts?
What Cheryl-Ann proposed was a vital undertaking. I never comprehended the amount of time behind it until I witnessed the finale. The current display contains 100 casts from women from all different sizes and backgrounds spanning in age from 19-91. All the women had to sit through the process of having wet strips of plaster bandage applied to the front of their chest from the neck to the hip. These were dried and later used to make the casts. Each cast was decorated using the artist's inspiration and "reflecting each woman's spirit."
I was deeply moved by the display which was anonymous, each cast having a title relating to its uniqueness. The idea of being able to look at other women's breasts with out something stereotypical or sexual being applied was refreshing and freeing. Having a nursing background, I knew a variety existed but to have a display set up all in one place with creativity and love to show the rest of the world what I already knew was such a reward.
There is so much to take in. You can't possibly take it all in on the first visit. I walked around a couple times and each time I noticed something new and inspiring. If you happen to be in the area of this exhibit, The Studio Gallery in Kingston, Ontario will run the The Beautiful Women Project until the end of March, definitely check it out. If you'd like to get the exhibit to a local venue near you, please contact a gallery or library to make a request and send them to Cheryl-Ann's website.
Note: Cheryl-Ann graciously allowed me to take pictures but reproduction is not allowed without permission from me or the artist. If you want to show them to others please refer them to this website.
Visit Cheryl-Ann Webster's BWP website.
See more photos from the exhibit.