Together We Are Stronger

"Luminescent" is a textured, semi-abstract nude, barely seen through shades of pink, purple and blue. This painting was created as a reflection of a breast cancer experience and to raise funds to fight breast cancer (National Breast Cancer Foundation). "Luminescent" was painted by Rebecca Collett, Perth Australia (c) 2020. Mixed media on canvas

COVID-19 has made us all adapt, slow down, speed up and re-evaluate.

I’ll be honest, some of these changes have been welcome, others torturous, disruptive and resented.

In November last year, I started organising a group exhibition. 30+ artists were coming together to raise funds for breast cancer research. All commissions on the sales, which would normally go to the gallery, were to be donated to the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation. That was amazing; the gallery was happy to donate all profits to this incredible cause!

The exhibition was scheduled for May 2020, and then COVID-19 struck. The world, Australia and Perth were forced into lockdown. Galleries had to close their doors indefinitely. Disappointed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. Not only was the exhibition cancelled, but the impact on artists’ income and breast cancer research would have ongoing and far reaching ramifications.

As a backdrop to that, I found myself stuck in a negative news loop. The joy was being sucked out of everything and I was feeling powerless as the world spun out of control. Then three things happened:

1. The Good News Movement popped up in my Instagram feed (check it out, you won’t regret it!).

2. Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Bars by the Lady in the Wild West were discovered and consumed. Click here if adding oats (fibre), dark chocolate (antioxidants) and coconut (loads of vitamins and minerals), make anything you bake a superfood and negate the need to eat kale.

3. I became a pink snow bunny and discovered it felt wonderful to take action in support of others when we were being told so many “Don’ts”.

Now armed with positivity, fresh baked delicious  Oatmeal Bars (aka Superfood) and a driving need to build on those feelings generated by taking action, I decided to stop spinning out of control.  I had control. I also had the strength and the ability to make a difference, for me and for so many others. It was time to give my isolation and energy a direction. I had the capability to change the lives of countless women, men, families and loved ones.

Breasts around the world still needed our support, COVID-19 hadn’t stopped that!

So I went virtual and solo, and surprisingly bigger.

The one painting I had completed for the group exhibition grew into three. I partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF). The month of May was committed to my Art Fundraising Series.

With Mother’s Day on May 10th, it was also the perfect time to give the most precious and lifesaving gift to the women and men who support us, mother us, comfort us, love us, nag us, challenge us, put up with us and stand by us.

I pledged to donate 15% from each painting sold in my Art Fundraising Series or people could donate any dollar amount directly to NBCF.

I had no idea what I was opening myself up for, but I’m so grateful. The experience of planning and creating the first painting, “In All Her Glory” ensured I couldn’t shy away from the uncomfortable, the self-reflection and the outpouring of love I received.

Both my sister and mother had breast cancer. My sister died six weeks before her 41st birthday and my mum has thankfully been in remission for a couple of years. They, myself and all the individuals and families who continue to be impacted by this disease were my motivation to keep going. What we’ve all faced and what those to come potentially face, enabled me to dig deeper and work through so many emotions and blocks I didn’t even realise were there.

The process of identifying what I wanted to say through “In All Her Glory”, the planning and the creation, was a revelation to me. It became incredibly cathartic. It enabled me to identify and confront what had been going on so I could work through it.

The below excerpts give you a glimpse into those transitions, realisations and changes. Click on the links to delve deeper.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation is Australia’s leading body funding game-changing breast cancer research with money raised entirely by the public; people like you and I.

These are challenging times, but we can help stop 8 women dying from breast cancer and 53 from receiving a terrible diagnosis every day.

Due to all the positive outcomes of my virtual exhibition, I will continue to donate 15% from sales of my Art Fundraiser Series. Although the shiny and bright “Luminescent” has sold ($180 donated), you can still get your hands on “Embraced” and “In All Her Glory”.

Together we are stronger. We all have power and strength. No action is too small.

"In All Her Glory" is a textured, semi-abstract nude, barely seen through various stripes and shades of pink. This painting was created as a reflection of a breast cancer experience and to raise funds to fight breast cancer (National Breast Cancer Foundation). "In All Her Glory" was painted by Rebecca Collett, Perth Australia (c) 2020. Mixed media on canvas

“In All Her Glory” is a reflection of my experience with breast cancer, not my mum’s or my sister’s, but mine. The threat of it looming over me. Years of being overwhelmed by it, the fear and doubts. My breasts had become a negative, something to be scrutinised, cut off, explored, poked and discussed in the third person. Keep reading

"Embraced" is a textured, semi-abstract nude, barely seen through various soft shades of blue, pink and purple. This painting was created as a reflection of a breast cancer experience and to raise funds to fight breast cancer (National Breast Cancer Foundation). "Embraced" was painted by Rebecca Collett, Perth Australia (c) 2020. Mixed media on canvas

I started “Embraced” with a darker image in my head. Incredibly, only light came out. Softness enveloped her. The painting was showing me that the darkness had receded, that a lot of the overwhelming negative thoughts of breast cancer (the real and the unknown future) had been replaced by lightness. Through the process of planning and creating “In All Her Glory”, a shift occurred without me realising it. Keep reading

"Luminescent" is a textured, semi-abstract nude, barely seen through shades of pink, purple and blue. This painting was created as a reflection of a breast cancer experience and to raise funds to fight breast cancer (National Breast Cancer Foundation). "Luminescent" was painted by Rebecca Collett, Perth Australia (c) 2020. Mixed media on canvas

“Luminescent” has become a bright and glowing reminder. She is a reminder that in this uncertain world, the one certainty is light. The light is a calmness, strength, fragility, hope, acceptance. It’s what we need to get through the day and in the dark hours that ebb around us and those we care about. Sometimes this light comes from within, other times we absorb it from those near to us. Keep reading

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