Dubai: Painting the town pink, figuratively and literally, is a cause that artist and cancer survivor Jesno Jackson is championing as the UAE marks Pinktober, the International Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, to raise awareness about the life-threatening disease.
As an artist and founder and curator of the Art4you Gallery in Dubai, Jesno is organising the “Colour of Hope” campaign, which she has launched through her gallery.
In a show of resilience and determination, the 42-year-old mother of a 19-year-old son is leading a series of events as part of the 15-day campaign.
“This is a cause that is very close to my heart,” she told Gulf News.
“Being a breast cancer survivor, I wanted to give great pleasure to all creative artists who work in all mediums and styles to present artworks that have strong accents of the colour pink as part of this event,” said Jesno who has arranged at least seven events for the campaign.
“I am glad to share my strength and resilience, the collective energy and unity in art to inspire a sense of hope and empowerment among the attendees,” said the former art teacher.
She highlighted the need for women to remain strong in their fight against cancer.
“When life pushes us over, we get up and push it back with double the strength. We have the strength and the power of a lion. Belief in our own willpower can do wonders. Giving a woman hope will give her the strength to fight this battle positively,” she said, expressing gratitude to her loved ones for standing by her during the tough phase in her life.
Speaking about the importance of hosting awareness events to bring the issue to the forefront of public consciousness, Jesno said: “Breast cancer affects millions of women worldwide, and these events aim to unite people from all walks of life to support breast cancer survivors through various creative activities. Wearing pink and painting in pink, various artists are supporting this cause. I am thankful to them and the generous companies who are making these events possible.”
Rengi Cherian, Jesno’s husband and co-founder of Art4you Gallery, highlighted the power of art to inspire change and ignite conversations around important issues.
“We decided to have a campaign that would appeal to both the brains and the hearts of the masses. We believe that art has the power to inspire change and ignite conversations around important issues. We will conclude the campaign on October 30 with a virtual art show by artists dedicating their works to the cause,” he said.
The activities of the campaign include a sustainable live art session, a pink art showcase, a ‘photo-in-pink frame’ social media campaign, a pink ribbon dinner, a survivor celebration session with inspirational speeches, a women’s talk and hospital visit session and a virtual art exhibition.
“These events are set to take place till October 30, with the participation of female artists and women from various walks of the community pledging their support for breast cancer awareness,” said Jesno.
Various art events
On October 14, a group of 15 artists gathered to creatively paint planters in a pink theme. The ecological planters, designed with a cane frame on the outside and a glass vase in the centre featured peace lily plants known for their air-purifying properties. These planters were displayed as souvenirs, symbolising hope and growth and some were gifted to cancer patients. The event also commemorated the Year of Sustainability in the UAE with support from The Green Revolution Dubai.
Apart from Jesno, the participating artists of various nationalities included Anahita Ansari Pour, Shakiba Rabiei, Pegah Rezaei Rad, Mahboobeh Shahnavaz, Yuliya Solomennaya, Svetlana Kreventsova, Maryna Futymska, Neetu George, Maria Komal Abie, Barati Mehansi, Rania Abdelrahman, Fatima Ghandour, Roa Al Madani and Bhumika Maniyar.
On October 15, attendees were treated to live watercolour art and an interactive pink art showcase. Creative individuals expressed their emotions and solidarity through floral creative expression in the theme of pink florals.
Running from October 24 to 30 on the website of the Art4you Gallery, the multidisciplinary virtual art exhibition held as part of the campaign celebrates women’s power and resilience. It features works by both emerging and experienced artists and focuses on a wide range of pink-related themes.
“In most of the artworks, artists have used the colour pink to represent friendship, affection, harmony, inner peace, and most importantly, hope and healing,” said Jesno.
During the campaign last weekend, Jesno and another breast cancer survivor, Sandra Cristina Isidro Martinho, shared their stories, inspiring others with their courage and determination.
All women attendees were encouraged to capture their “pink moments” in an Instagram photo frame for the campaign, and share them on social media platforms with the hashtag #pinktober.
A Pink Ribbon Dinner was organised with a formal pink dress code, with tables adorned with pink dried flowers and centrepieces featuring pink flowers symbolising hope and strength.
Dr. Mughnia Bamyani, managing director of Monroe Medical Centre, presented a speech about the fight against breast cancer, tips for early detection and the overall health of women.
Screening for early detection
As part of a session at a partnering medical centre, discounted health checks and screenings will be offered to the participants of the campaign.
“These include breast examinations, mammograms, and general health assessments. This provides attendees with an opportunity to prioritise their health and detect any potential issues early on. To raise awareness about the Big C, four experts from the medical field, cancer survivors, and women leaders will speak about early detection, diagnosis, misconceptions and common doubts people have about breast cancer,” said Jesno.