Beast
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By Matthew Starring

Beast

By Matthew Starring


Matthew Starring

Hospital bed

Two years of my life have been spent in the infernal land that lies at the heart of cancer treatment. Despite the life-threatening nature of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and the negativity that accompanies a cancer diagnosis, I have been able to cope with the events and process my emotions through art. It has helped me far better than any support group I could dream up.

Pictured above are images from an installation and performance I wrote titled Beast, which charts my journey through cancer diagnosis, treatment, remission, relapse and recovery.

Suspended quilts made from greeting cards I gathered during hospital stays create the backdrop. During the performance, I tell my story through monologues as myself and as other characters in my life. With the acoustic guitar and piano, I play and sing original music that took shape over the course of my treatment.

The production has allowed me to confront my demons up close. Often, in the midst of dealing with the reality of cancer, it can seem nearly impossible to cope with the experience emotionally. Preparing and exhibiting this work has allowed me to immerse myself in the events since my diagnosis in January 2007 and face them head-on.

 

(photo credit: Bonnie Briant)