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body image body essence Exhibition Opens at University of Miami

MIAMI, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) announced that body image | body essence, an art exhibition of 16 sculptures depicting various stages of ovarian cancer, will be on display at the University of Miami, College of Arts and Sciences Gallery, from Jan. 23 to Mar. 21, 2009.

Created by Massachusetts artist John Magnan, the exhibit will debut on January 23 from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. The showing is free and open to the public. Located at 1210 Stanford Dr. in Coral Gables, gallery hours are Tuesday - Saturday from 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. and Thursday from 12 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Magnan created the original sculptures in 1999 when his late wife, Mary, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. While the art was initially a way for the couple to cope, the collection became a powerful visual tool for awareness, education and catharsis. The body image | body essence art exhibition, sponsored by NOCC, tours the country to generate awareness of ovarian cancer, one of deadliest forms of women's gynecologic cancers. Each year, more than 20,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and more than 15,000 will die from the disease.

This cathartic, educational and informative exhibit is a powerful commentary on shared human experiences of health, sickness, death and personal triumph.

Magnan created the first sculpture soon after his wife Mary lost her hair to chemotherapy treatment. Beginning with a wooden egg, he began clipping straight pins and tapping the ends into the egg, eventually covering the entire surface. The repetitiveness of tapping 46,000 pins into the egg, which he later named "Sharps!," was a calming mantra for him. Over the next year, as ovarian cancer became a larger focus of their lives, Magnan worked on new pieces, eventually creating 15 sculptures that provided an easier way to talk about the disease.

After NOCC learned about Magnan's work, it collaborated with him to provide funding for the creation of a traveling exhibit that would increase awareness about ovarian cancer.

Using recurrent imagery of hair loss, Magnan explores the conflict between "who I am" and "what I look like" faced by women with ovarian cancer after its invasive surgery and follow-up treatments. His work also addresses other aspects of changed self-image, with both somber and lighthearted perspectives. Solemn issues of scarring, fatigue and fertility can be found in some pieces, as well as explorations of "chemo brain" or hair that refuses to grow back the same as before.

After his wife's death in February 2006, Magnan created the sculpture "Echo" in recognition of the courage and spirit of Mary and all women living with ovarian cancer. NOCC chose "Echo" as the icon for "Break the Silence," its national ovarian cancer awareness campaign that arms women with tools to begin an early dialogue with their physicians about ovarian cancer, facilitate early diagnosis and improve survival rates.

About NOCC

The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Inc. (NOCC) is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization that provides education and awareness about ovarian cancer through a toll-free Help Line, local NOCC Chapters, comprehensive website, peer support, publications and awareness/education programs. The NOCC's mission is to raise awareness and promote education about ovarian cancer. The Coalition is committed to improving the survival rate and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer. For more information on the "Break the Silence" campaign and to contact one of the local NOCC chapters, visit or call 1-888-OVARIAN.

SOURCE National Ovarian Cancer Coalition
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