Cancer diagnosis inspiration for art

LAURA KAVANAGH
Last updated 05:00 26/03/2013
Scott Kennedy
LAUARA KAVANAGH
Feeling alive: Artist Scott Kennedy feels as if he has been given a second chance at life.

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When artist Scott Kennedy was told he had about a year to live, his first instinct was to paint.

Two years later, he is holding his first exhibition since his diagnosis, drawing on his struggle with bowel cancer and chemotherapy.

Kennedy, born in California, has been living and working in Breaker Bay for about 20 years, sharing a studio with fellow artist Donna Cross.

Staying Afloat features images in bottles, print work and model ships, all on a theme of mortality and survival and inspired by his numerous operations and time in hospital.

One piece is modelled on the USS Missouri, a World War II battleship, which he sees as a symbol of survival.

''It looks burnt and destroyed, but it's afloat. I'm still here and I'm still afloat,'' he said.

The theme of mortality was captured using monochromatic colours and materials such as driftwood, pumice and glass bottles.

Kennedy has been working on those pieces since finding out he had cancer and said he was really excited about it.

''I've just had fun doing it. I can't tell how it's going to be perceived but I don't care.''

He said he was on a break from his chemotherapy before his next round, and is now positive and matter-of-fact about the future.

He felt he had been given a second chance. ''I've never felt so good. I've never felt so alive.

''Everything lives and dies. You can't choose when.''fucredit

- Staying Afloat, April 6 till 28, Visual Culture Gallery, 108 Oriental Bay. Thurs and Fri, 11am till 6pm; Sat and Sun, 11am till 4pm. 

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- The Wellingtonian

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