Around 2.1 million women are impacted by breast cancer each year, according to the World Health Organisation. A number that could be significantly lower with greater awareness of the importance of regular screening. Pink Ribbon, an international movement spearheaded by several cancer charities, works to change this narrative and to raise awareness about the disease around the world.
To mark the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month, we teamed up with 8 of our artists and created a ‘Pink Ribbon x JUNIQE’ collection, with 20% of the proceeds going to Pink Ribbon Germany. We talked to some of our artists who have had personal experience with the disease, and found out about the important messages that stand behind their designs...
Céleste tackles the subject of cancer by focusing on one of her favourite topics: sisterhood. In her design ‘Unity’, Céleste depicts a subject that exudes both strength and vulnerability. Standing in the middle of the frame, the figure is surrounded by her friends, who embrace one another and give each other their support. Céleste’s work calls for tenderness and closeness, and reminds us of how crucial it is to support one another, particularly when confronted with serious illness.
Farina Kuklinksi has had to face the harsh realities of cancer throughout her life. First discovering a benign lump when she was 18, she later lost both her grandmother and aunt to different types of the disease, before finally seeing her mother fall sick with uterine cancer last year.
Farina recalls her mother’s courage and bravery after discovering the prognosis and the trust she had in her body’s ability to know when something felt wrong. This self-belief proved to be well placed, as her mother later survived a successful operation, and now goes for regular check-ups. Farina maintains the belief that it is crucial to look after your body, and to listen to your intuition. It is a message that is clearly central to both "We Are Strong" and "We Are Free".
A few years ago, two young women in LEEMO's circle were diagnosed with cancer, one of whom was in her immediate family. "I will never forget the unbridled courage and confidence with which they met - and finally defeated - cancer," says the artist. This respect and wonder is reflected in "Future", a piece which celebrates the innate strength of women and reminds us of the importance of looking outwards and forwards.
In Greek mythology, the goddess Venus not only symbolises erotic desire, but also love and feminine beauty. When creating the design "Pink Venus", Kika illu was inspired by such concepts. She says: “Pink Venus stands for women who have the courage to fight in every moment of their lives. For others, but above all for themselves."
Leigh has also lost loved ones to cancer in recent years. She finds that turning to nature helps with both her own healing process, and also her creative work. She explains that "Peonies 1" and "Peonies 2", or "peonies", serve as a reminder to herself to slow down, to stay present and to take both her health and mental well-being seriously. A motif which seems fitting, since these particular flowers represent spring, a new beginning and female beauty, across multiple cultures.
When Sophia set out to create ‘Harmony’ and ‘Bloom’, it was important to her that they represented the beauty of all women, in all their glorious forms. Why? Because as so many of us sadly know, cancer can affect anyone - regardless of age, size or background. But more than that, Sophia wanted to instil hope in others and to encourage those living with the disease, as well as their families, to have faith in their own strength: "I think people have more power than they think they have. That’s why I used flowers. As a symbol for a new beginning after a long struggle. The powerful colours demonstrate resilience.”
For Sophia, botany is more than just a fascinating form, it is a source of inspiration: "Every plant has the ability to battle and overcome whatever obstacle it encounters in order to bloom".
From tender watercolours to powerful photography, the artists from the JUNIQE x Pink Ribbon collection approach the subject of breast cancer from distinctly personal perspectives. And yet, while each experience is thoroughly individual, a shared experience remains; one that speaks to the importance of self-love, care, attention and the beauty of womanhood. It reminds us: together we are less alone—and also far stronger.
Text: Eva Klann
Translation: Anna Fleck