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Crowns of Courage

Burgess, Gilbert & Stone

Crowns of Courage challenges the traditional aesthetic of feminine beauty and explores a vision of empowerment where pain and shame are normally found. This exhibit is made in collaboration with dozens of West Michigan cancer patients who are experiencing radical cancer treatments. Chemotherapy in and of itself is grueling, and in a culture where women are often judged by superficial standards of beauty, hair loss can add emotional pain to the intense physical cost of chemotherapy. The women of Crowns of Courage are living art. They collaborate with a henna tattoo artist to design a temporary piece of henna art that celebrates their baldness, their struggles and their pain, and draws attention to what is is normally a private struggle concealed beneath wigs and hats. The tattooed portrait subjects are enshrined and preserved in dramatic lit studio photographs.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 2-D
  • Depth: 3 inches
  • Medium: Photographs and henna tattoo
  • Width: 15 to 20 feet
  • Year created: 2017
  • Height: 8 to 10 feet

About Burgess, Gilbert & Stone

Crowns of Courage was created by Amanda Joy Gilbert of Happy Henna in Grand Rapids with her partner Steven Stone. She had invited two makeup artists and a photographer to join her in this project. They are currently creating a nonprofit to benefit women battling cancer by giving them Henna crowns. To learn more go to www.happyhenna.com