1 in 8: The Torso Project is a collaborative art project that seeks to foster healing and public awareness. The title derives from cancer statistics: one in eight women, over the course of their lifetimes, will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Originated by 17-year breast cancer survivor and Forest Moon Program Director, Pam Roberts, the women make plaster of Paris casts of their own torsos to comment on the female form and to express outrage at the breast cancer epidemic, which kills one woman every 13 minutes. This year over 210,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States alone; over 40,000 will die.
The project grew out of the desire to dispel the silence and fear about breast cancer through the shared experience of collaborative art.
“We bared our breasts together to address the fear and to celebrate the supportive friendships and community that are necessary for surviving. We are all in this together,” says Roberts.
Pam was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 1993 and had a mastectomy one month later. The statistics of incidence of breast cancer at the time of Pam’s diagnosis was one in nine. Fourteen years later – in 2007 -, that figure changed to one in eight; and in 2011 the statistic is creeping ever-closer to one in seven.
One of the reasons for this statistical increase can be attributed to better and earlier detection. A more frightening reason for the greater incidence is the ever-increasing amounts of toxins in our homes, schools, workplaces and environment.
1 in 8 was inspired by Roberts’ entry in the Show Us Your Bra contest sponsored by Northampton’s Gazebo in 2003. Roberts asked her friends, Hope Schneider and Katie Winship, to help her make a plaster of Paris body cast of her torso. Her resulting piece, “I Don’t Wear a Bra” received honorable mention and was featured on a calendar produced from the event.
Each two-day 1 in 8 workshop has women collaboratively create a plaster of Paris body cast of each woman’s torso, write about their experience dealing with breast cancer and, once the casts are dry, embellish them artistically. All participants then have the opportunity to exhibit them in a gallery. Currently, there is a 1 in 8 exhibit hanging at the Eliot Street Cafe in Brattleboro.
Read two articles on 1 in 8, one of which appeared in the July 2008 issue of Women’s Times and the second appearing in the February 16, 2011 edition of the Greenfield Recorder.
The Torso Project is a collaborative art project that seeks to foster healing and public awareness. The title derives from cancer statistics: one in eight women, over the course of their lifetimes, will be diagnosed with breast cancer.