Grad Student's Artwork Inspired by Friend's Battle With Cancer | Kent State University
Oxana Dallas MA thesis exhibition, weaving

Grad Student's Artwork Inspired by Friend's Battle With Cancer

Oxana Dallas, The Fragile Beauty of HopeOxana Dallas, graduate student in textiles in Kent State University's School of Art, was recently featured in the Canton Repository for her M.A. thesis exhibition, “Augmented Reality: The Art of Story Telling Through the Blend of Digital Photography and Woven Jacquard Structure.” The exhibition, which was on view in the Crawford Gallery at the Center for the Visual Arts at Kent State in March, featured digital jacquard weavings based on photographs she took of her friend during her battle with cancer.

Ms. Dallas’s friend, Natalya Makarova, requested that she take her photograph after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was facing a mastectomy. The resulting images inspired Dallas to create the body of work presented in her thesis exhibition.  

Before she began her thesis work, Dallas entered one of the pieces, “The Fragile Beauty of Hope” (pictured left) in the “Photography Now” juried exhibition that took place in July at Summit Artspace in Akron.  She was pleasantly surprised when she won second place. This experience caused her to consider using the photographs for her thesis work.

Ms. Makarova was diagnosed with cancer at 36, and it completely changed her perspective on life. “It turns out that cancer is not only darkness and tragedy, fear and uncertainty. I started feeling enormously grateful for being alive, waking up to the sunshine and being able to walk and breath without pain. I was overwhelmed with the support and the love me and my husband got from friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances and random people,” she said.

After Makarova's surgery and chemotherapy, she made a full recovery.  More photographs were taken, which were combined with the previous images, creating a story of hope and triumph. Ms. Dallas hopes that her artwork will, in turn, inspire those fighting the disease.