Art Therapy

There Will Be Dark Days

Alisa Lehman’s art depicts cancer as a monster holding her captive in a cage. She recently joined an immunotherapy clinical trial after her medication for metastatic breast cancer stopped working.
June 2018 Cancer Immunotherapy
Alisa Lehman
Glen Ellyn, IL
There Will Be Dark Days

I have been living with metastatic breast cancer for 2 years, and recently found out that my medication had stopped working and I needed to start a new drug. I am currently participating in an immunotherapy clinical trial at the University of Chicago.

When I started sculpting this piece, I was imagining cancer to be the monster who is holding me captive. As I got further into the process, I realized that the monster can also be seen to represent fear and despair—both of which can hold me captive (if I am not careful), by preventing me from living in the present.

If you look closely, you can see a small knife inside the cage with me. It may seem inadequate for the task, but I see the knife as a reminder that I can take steps to be the master of my own life, despite the large beast looming over me.

I create my artwork from polymer clay and mixed media. Sculpting is a source of joy to me, and I try to schedule some time in my studio every day. My work tends to be bright and whimsical, so this sculpture was a real departure from my usual style, but I felt a need to express my feelings with my art.

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Last modified: July 23, 2018

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