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Walking Beside Me

women with lymphedema deCabrera

HeatheRoden Vda. Cabrera (submitted by Sara Cohen)

About the artist: 

“I paint, draw, work in terra-cotta, glass, stone and wood. I like mixed media, and I adore metallics and glitter. Visually, I am deeply concerned with the impact of light upon a scene or an object. My themes reflect my inner and outer worlds. I often paint issues that concern me: conditions in jail, impact on victims, and medical realities. I don’t try to be controversial; however, it is imperative to me that my work be authentic–no calendar art for me! I only do art to please myself. It is my spiritual affirmation.”

About the artwork:

“The title Walking Beside Me echoes a line from Juan Ramón Jiménez’s poem Yo No Soy Yo (I Am Not I):

Soy este
que va a mi lado sin yo verlo…

I am this one
walking beside me whom I do not see…

It reflects the suffering that lymphedema caused me after I had a modified radical mastectomy.”

Sara Cohen writes: “The painting was created by my patient; I was her occupational therapist. I suggested that she use art to process her experience of living with lymphedema. She gave me this painting as a gift. I decided to donate it to the hospital where I work, and I asked that it be displayed in the lymphedema clinic so that women could see a beautiful image of women with lymphedema. Women often feel embarrassed about wearing bandages or a compression sleeve in public and want to hide their swollen arms. After the painting had been displayed for a number of weeks, some of the patients expressed distress upon seeing it, and it was removed. When I told Ms. Cabrera, she said, ‘Art is supposed to shake people up; I’m happy my painting accomplished that.’ “

Visual Editor:

Justin Sanders