DAVID: MACMA’s The Art of Self Examination

People touching paintings

DAVID: MACMA’s The Art of Self Examination

Providing health education at your fingertips

Breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer worldwide. Survival rates vary by country but can be as high as 99% if symptoms are detected early enough. To encourage more women to perform regular self-exams, Argentina’s Breast Cancer Help Movement (MACMA) teamed up with DAVID Buenos Aires and the Hispanic American Museum of Art Isaac Fernández Blanco to create a different kind of exhibition.

The Art of Self Examination invited visitors to take an up-close look at some of the museum’s full-scale copies of three paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Raphael. Each replica featured women with bare breasts showing signs of what could be cancer.

Focusing on certain shaded areas of the painted breasts, which could represent signs of cancer like lumps and skin retraction, the exhibit encouraged visitors to touch the work to get a more tactile sense of how a lump may feel.

“For centuries, neither the portrayed women, nor the artists or the thousands of visitors who saw the works of art could recognise the symptoms,” said Ignacio Flotta and Nicolas Vara, Executive Creative Directors at DAVID Buenos Aires. “The same happens today: many women in our country don´t know how to recognise them. That’s why we wanted this exhibition to help raise awareness of the importance of recognising the symptoms to which we must pay attention.”