By Lisa Twang,
The New Paper,
Oct 10, 2015
Not every woman would be brave enough to have their breasts scanned and printed into a 3D model for a publicly displayed art piece.
But that is precisely what local TV host Jade Seah, 32, has done to raise awareness for breast cancer. Seah and local actress Oon Shu An are among 55 volunteers for Bare For Hope, organised by Her World magazine in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Their breast models will be painted by Singapore's first female finger-painting artist Adeline Yeo and assembled together to form a 2.4m by 2.4m art piece in the shape of the pink ribbon - the international symbol for breast cancer awareness.
Volunteers also include breast cancer survivors and members of the Her World team. Seah told The New Paper over the phone yesterday: "To me, it is not a big deal as I've always been very comfortable with my body.
"We just went to a private room at the Breast Cancer Foundation office, stripped and had a computerised scan done of our breasts. Even for people who are shy, it wasn't embarrassing or awkward at all."
Full-time artist Yeo, 38, told TNP in a separate interview with a laugh: "I am pleased with the finished pieces - they look like happy, colourful boobs.
"I find them pretty and cute. I like that the breasts come in different shapes and sizes - some are lopsided, some are just single boobs because the volunteer had a mastectomy. There is nothing erotic about the display.
"I think people will admire the beauty of the painting and feel the positive vibe of the project." The finished artwork will be displayed at the inaugural event, which will run from Oct 17 to 25 at Paragon atrium.
A silent auction of all the 3D models will take place, with a target of $15,000. All funds will go towards the Breast Cancer Foundation. "No, I don't feel weird about having my breast model auctioned off," Seah said.
"After all, it is for a good cause and the models are anonymous. It is not like I am super well-endowed anyway, so maybe it is less embarrassing for me," joked Seah, who declined to reveal her bra size.
She has a personal connection to breast cancer, as she lost her aunt to the disease. Her mother also worked at the National Cancer Centre as a senior staff nurse for the past 20 years, which made her acutely aware of a cancer patient's journey.
"My mum was dedicated to her patients and would go through the obituaries to show me which ones were her patients who had passed away," said Seah.
"She used to work in the maternity ward at Mount Alvernia Hospital, so I asked her, why not go back to working with mothers and babies instead? But she found it meaningful to work with cancer patients.
She understood their frustrations and their physical, emotional and psychological suffering." Seah said her mum had taught her the importance of doing regular breast self-examinations to check for lumps and irregularities.
Although she admitted she does not check every month as she forgets, she ensures she does so every six months. "My mum had patients who would come in with huge, swollen lumps, and she would wonder why they didn't get checked earlier.
Early detection is really important, which is why I want to help raise awareness for this," she said.
Seah, who married Mr Terence Lim, a former national swimmer, in January after dating for four years, also worked part-time at the National Cancer Centre when she was 17.
"My job was to go around asking people to complete a survey about their attitude towards cancer," she explained. "So yes, my family has always been aware of cancer and its effects. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it is scarily common."
Ms Pearlyn Tham, editor of Her World, said that as the No. 1 women's magazine in Singapore, they are always raising awareness of what is close to readers' hearts.
"This is why we want to remind our readers and women everywhere to take charge of their health by doing regular self-checks or going for ultrasound and mammogram," she said.
"Hopefully, this exhibition will serve as a new and refreshing way to show there is nothing embarrassing or taboo about paying attention to your breasts and their health."
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