press enter to search

Cancer survivor paints for pain relief

Bambang Muryanto

The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta  /  Sun, February 17, 2019  /  07:08 pm
Cancer survivor paints for pain relief

Self-taught painter Mola exhibits her works at Bentara Budaya in Yogyakarta from Feb. 8 to 16. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)

Mola, 45, is a self-taught painter-slash-homemaker living in Bandung, West Java.

The artist began painting pictures in 2000. However, after undergoing surgery for cervical cancer in 2011 and being diagnosed with a shifted spine in 2015, Mola now paints to relieve her chronic pain.

Mola is currently exhibiting her artworks at Bentara Budaya, an exhibition hall in Yogyakarta, until Feb. 16. Entitled "Edited Clown", the solo exhibition features a total of 18 acrylic paintings on canvas and 10 watercolors on paper.

Although Mola created her paintings while in tremendous pain, almost all of her artworks feature clowns and bright colors, implying happy feelings. One of her paintings, entitled Dancing with My Mother, depicts a female clown carrying a small clown, expressing maternal love.

“Perhaps the clown is me,” she said, referring to the character who strives to make everyone happy, despite what he or she may be feeling. As a mother, Mola aimed to create a happy home even as she struggled with pain.

Being an introvert led her to use paintings as a medium to express her feelings.

“I can relieve the pain by painting. I don’t fight it. Instead, I make peace with the diseases given by God,” she said.

Read also: Aris Prabawa explores human suffering in Yogyakarta exhibition

Mola said she chose not to take the medications prescribed by doctors, but to treat her ailments herself by painting.

To herself, she asserted that she was not a sick person and she created the artworks so she would always be remembered by her children and grandchildren.

“When I create an acrylic painting, I can work up to seven hours and it [helps] to relieve my pain,” she said.

Art curator Asmujo Jono Irianto wrote in the exhibition catalog that Mola was a self-taught painter who did not care about art theories. Asmujo wrote that for Mola the most important thing was the act of painting, not how to paint, adding that the painter's expressionist style could compete with works by art school graduates.

Likewise, art enthusiast Benny Santosa Halim, who opened the exhibition, shared his admiration.

“She is a tough woman. [It requires] great strength to fight the diseases and Mola can transform it into a positive energy,” said Benny. (jes/wng)