Breast Cancer LIFE
Breast Cancer LIFE  is a touring exhibition of 46 life studies of women with Breast Cancer in pencil, pastel and oils by Harriet Barber,  ‘Woman’, a sculpture by Greta Berlin and 'Red Boots in a Box' but ceramicist Jenny George.

The life studies by Slade trained artist Harriet Barber in pencil, pastel and oils produced between February and August 2010, raise awareness and communicate to a wider audience, recognising the strength of women who overcome illness and invasive surgery and demonstrate to those at the beginning of their journey through Breast Cancer, that there is a very positive life ahead. It gives hope to women who feel so changed and demeaned following mastectomy, reconstruction or surgery and weakened by aggressive chemo and radiotherapy.   

Commissioned by a friend of the sculptor Greta Berlin, the single breasted woman was completed in 2009 and we are very grateful to Greta for allowing ‘Woman’ to be part of this exhibition. 

The pastel 'Alison in Red Boots' inspired ceramicist Jenny George to create 'Red Boots in a Box'.  

The Artists
Harriet Barber, aged 41 and with two young children, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in May 2008. Coming to terms with the diagnosis, surgery and treatment, she became increasingly aware of the low self esteem and lack of confidence women experience after radical surgery and aggressive therapies. Though committed to working from life in the natural landscape, she began in February 2010 to draw and paint women with Breast Cancer.

Greta Berlin 

Making and showing ceramic sculpture since ‘74, her development took her into stone carving and welded steel structures and has lived in Dorset since '92.  Her sculpture reflects the dichotomy of our inner lives; a woman needing a creative life, maybe, yet fearing her ability to give her children all they need as well; the anomalies of the world around us; the ‘have and have-nots'; the innocent victims of conflict and, in a lighter mood, the exuberance of a youth on a skateboard.

Jenny George

Making and showing ceramics from Saltash, they are made primarily from porcelain and like cartoons, they are intended to be funny.  The figures are extremely delicate and highly detailed observations of life – mainly the funnier side of our obsession with fashion.

The Models

25 women have sat so far, their ages from 35 to 80, and a wide variety of surgery, treatment, shape and size. Some have chosen to remain annonymous, some have opted not to strip right down but to use turbans or scarves, and in one case knee high bright red suede boots.  All the models are keen to let women know that they can emerge from Breast Cancer with confidence and an enthusiasm to embrace life ahead and their response has had a central theme, “that was so worthwhile”.  All have willingly contributed to a project to help other women, to raise awareness and boost self-esteem and confidence.

Touring Dates    
Millers Barn, Plush 25 + 26 September 2010
Poundbury Garden Centre Gallery, Dorchester 16 October – 7 November 2010
The Malthouse (Town Mill) Lyme Regis 1 – 20 February 2011
Salisbury Library Exhibition Gallery 2 – 23 April 2011 
Lighthouse, Poole 10 June 2011 – 9 July 2011
National Cancer Research Institute 
Annual Conference,  Liverpool  6 – 9 November 2011

Medical Endorsement

“Those of us who have treated patients with Breast Cancer over many years recognise the enormous benefits of complementary medicine and a broad range of other therapies when used alongside conventional treatments.  These imaginative media help patients through the darkest days of their journey and encourage the sharing of intense and personal experiences.  The use of art in this way has a very positive therapeutic effect which is difficult or impossible to achieve with other approaches.'
Richard Rainsbury, MB BS BSc MS FRCS,  Director of the Winchester & Andover Breast Unit and Chief Trustee of the Winchester Cancer Research Trust.

Model Comments
“I am now used to my new shape having had a mastectomy a few years ago at age 37, and decided against reconstruction because I want to retain my physical strength and don't want to waste any time recovering from further surgery. I enjoyed the experience of modelling for Harriet despite it being physically demanding and it was interesting being on the other side of the easel for a change. I was pleased with the strength and confidence that Harriet embued in her drawings of me. I hope that the fact that so many women who have had Breast Cancer, have felt confident enough to life model will pass on a positive message to others.” Jinny


Some of the life studies are on loan for the duration of the touring exhibition Breast Cancer LIFE, others are available for purchase.  If you would like to purchase, support or to find out more about the exhibition, the artists or the sponsors, please contact Dot Browning on 01300 348280 or


The costs of framing, brochure, insurance, arts transport, venue costs, printing and administration amount to more than £25k - we still need to secure funding to take the exhibition beyond Dorset and welcome further offers of support. We are very grateful to Gallery Owners and Galleries for welcoming the touring exhibition Breast Cancer LIFE and particularly to those venues for waiving their normal fees.

We are very grateful to our sponsors:

If you would like to sponsor or support Breast Cancer LIFE, to find out more about the exhibition, the artists or the sponsors, please contact Dot Browning on 01300 348280 or on the email link below