Loss, emotional cancer journey, artwork

  • Michele Angelo Petrone
  • Digital Images
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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Loss, emotional cancer journey, artwork. Michele Angelo Petrone. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Source: Wellcome Collection.

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About this work


Painting titled "Loss" by artist and cancer patient Michele Angelo Petrone (1963-2007). Two figures are depicted: one sits on the floor using scissors to cut the hair of the second figure which is lying down. "I moved from diagnosis to treatment. Delilah cut Samson's hair and sapped his strength. My doctors didn't need to cut my hair: the chemotherapy just made it fall out, and my strength just fell out too. Was it just my hair they cut off or was I castrated as well? The chemotherapy took my fertility away. OK, so I don't want any children just now - but I might do in time. Will the few drops of frozen sperm really be enough to produce a family? The journey of illness is not only about the physical illness but also the emotional response. My doctor is attempting to cure me, but who is going to help me deal with the emotional aftermath, to try and heal that side of me, and heal all of me? It's not easy, but counselling offers a space, a place, some time and a face, a person to listen to me. Someone who will not be frightened by me and help me heal emotionally." This painting forms part of a series of work "The emotional cancer journey", which explores the emotions and feelings the artist experienced during his cancer journey. Michele was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1994. He founded the MAP foundation in 2002 to promote expression, communication and understanding of serious illness and dying.

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