Breast in show! US artist uses imprints from 30 women’s chests to ‘celebrate ladies joining forces’

Art pieces from 30 Chicago women celebrate female empowerment; several breast cancer survivors are part of the project

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 May, 2018, 1:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 May, 2018, 6:50am

Sixty breasts imprinted in paint will be displayed as part of a celebration of female empowerment in a River North art installation in Chicago.

The imprints, from 30 Chicago women who painted and imprinted their breasts, is part of an installation called “Awake and Rising”, which opens Thursday at a retail bed store. 

It is part of the store’s “Dreaming of Design” event that showcases various bedroom vignettes.

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Designer Emily Mackie said she came up with the idea after thinking through all of the women who have empowered her.

“I’ve found a lot in my career and personal life where joining forces with other women has gotten me really far,” Mackie said. “It was a celebration of that.”

A single mother of three, she said she has felt a great deal of support, professionally and personally, from other women. Some of those women are in the exhibit.

Mackie said not everyone was comfortable being in an art project that included baring her breasts.

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“You email someone saying we want 30 women to paint their breasts, and 30 women are like, ‘What are you talking about?’” she said.

Women in the exhibit include a radio host, a wellness coach and a travel and style blogger. Several breast cancer survivors also were a part of the project, Mackie said.

The day of the paintings, women came in at half-hour intervals and were offered a glass of wine. 

Then they chose a Maya Romanoff wall covering and non-toxic paint. In a bathroom, they pressed against the wallpaper to create the designs.

Once the paint dried, artist Sarah Raskey finished the pieces using her vision, as well as notes from meeting the women.

The art eventually will be auctioned online to raise money for a breast cancer organisation, Susan G. Komen Chicago.

“It was so beautiful and inspiring to me that 30 women would show up and say, ‘This is me,’” Mackie said.