Kelvin Amburgey-Waltons’s “From Within” series was created as part of the Courage Unmasked Tennessee project.
For treatment of certain head and neck cancers, a porous mesh mask is formed to cover a patient’s head and neck during radiation. The mask is bolted to the treatment table to keep the patient’s head immobile, thereby allowing doctors to pinpoint beams of radiation to cancer-affected areas. When six or more weeks of therapy are complete, the masks are discarded, destroyed or given to the patient to do with what they want. As part of the Courage Unmasked Tennessee project they also had the choice to donate them to local artist to create art out of this, sometimes negative, plastic mask.
As an artist I wanted to explore the idea of both the cancer and the strength to survive it comes from within the person. With this series you see moments from being whole to feeling shattered and broken as well as the thought of breaking the self free from the idea of being a cancer victim to a Survivor and renewed. I used the concept of the elements of Earth, Fire, Water and Air for colors and inspiration.
Each piece is developed using a Shadow box, Patient’s Mask, Acryilic paint and Mirror.
The mask are bolted down to a table to hold the person in place for radiation treatment to very specific areas without movement. It has been an honor to be given the chance now 3 different times to create something out of this time in people’s lives.
Kelvin's art can be see at Peckers and is available for purchase.