Langley artist creates sculpture for cancer survivor
July 28, 2011 · Updated 7:33 AM
Langley artist Deborah Eimers recently submitted a sculpture to the 14th Annual Exhibit of Art Celebrating the Cancer Journey sponsored by Whidbey General Hospital.
The show allowed cancer survivors, support persons and those working professionally with cancer patients to share art which demonstrates or suggests the life-changing impact the disease has had on them.
“I chose to make something for my brother-in-law who struggled against and survived gastric cancer,” Eimers said.
“I could never suppose to make something that represents his struggle. Even though I was there, I never felt
I was able to do enough.”
After a long deliberation, Eimers chose to work with a bicycle, “because Alan loves to ride.”
“The stripped-down bicycle represents what cancer can do to a healthy body and how his was after his journey to survival.”
Eimers created a prayer wheel of sorts, using a bicycle wheel, inspired by the Buddhist practice of creating an ovoo.
“As I was thinking about what to do with the wheel, I was remembering the ovoo, Buddhist/shamanistic shrines seen throughout Mongolia,” Eimers said.
Ovoos look like piles of stones supporting a large dead tree limb around which believers walk three times in a clockwise direction adding a stone each time in order to assure a safe journey. Prayer scarves and other symbols are often tied to the ovoo and it is not uncommon to find crutches, license plates, broken whisky bottles or any number of common items strewn among the rocks, she said.
“The wheel would be part Buddhist prayer wheel and part ovoo,” Eimers said.
Her idea was to compel those who viewed the piece to participate in the sculpture. She tied strips of fabric onto the wheel spokes which are cut from prayer scarves she purchased outside the Monastery of Gandan in Ulaan Batoor, Mongolia. The strips have been embellished with bells and beads collected during the artist’s travels. Around the rim of the wheel are bead necklaces used to decorate camels during the Puskar Camel Festival in India. They have been further adorned with charms and icons from around the world.
“As you spin the wheel your prayers and hopes are spun out into the universe,” Eimers added.
After the hospital show, the sculpture was transported to the home of Eimers’ brother-in-law in Davis, Calif. where it was featured at the Livestrong Challenge Davis bike race on July 10.
“I spoke with Alan during the event and he told me of several people who took the time to read the statement and became teary as they signed a name and added it to the sculpture,” Eimers said.
“It can be emotional for people to sign and tie the name of someone or themselves to the wheel. That’s why I made it,” she added.