OncoLink

JOANNE MACDONNELL FOSTER

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 3, 2002

I.O.U. mixed media 15 x 20 inches 1994

In 1984, I had a radical mastectomy. The operation was a success, and no further treatment was necessary. Over the next 10 years, I did a series of cancer-related renderings for myself; the process of executing them helped me focus my thoughts on the positive side of life and health.

Finally, in 1994, I felt it was necessary to celebrate my 10 years of life in a piece of sculpture in which I overtly confront cancer. "I.O.U." is an homage to the doctor who operated on me and a celebration of my life over this time period. It shows life coming out of the hole where the breast once was. Here are depicted events enjoyed with my husband and children, a smattering of the tools of my trade, and feathers representing my spiritual quest.

This piece also depicts a spiritual awakening. The experience has awakened in me an appreciation of life. I believe that, because I was given a talent, and in order to maintain my health mentally and spiritually, I must constantly create. For me it is a prayer and an obligation.