November 17, 2017 6:19 pm
Updated: November 21, 2017 5:12 pm

Winnipeg Art Gallery exhibit aims to inspire hope

Teva Harrison shared her book In-Between Days on Global News Morning.

Global News

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is honouring a woman’s inspiring story with an exhibit of drawings from her graphic novel.

Teva Harrison was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 37.  One of the ways in which she processed her diagnosis, she said, was by drawing.  Drawings which eventually became a graphic novel entitled In-Between Days: A Memoir about Living with Cancer.  The book documents, through illustration, what it meant to the Toronto writer to live with the disease.

WATCH: Teva Harrison met with Shannon Cuciz on Global News Morning November 13 to talk about the exhibit.

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Harrison explained the exhibit at the art gallery includes 45 original illustrations from the book. The display is organized in such a way as to allow visitors to move “through diagnosis and treatment, outward into society, marriage and family to conceptual ideas, hopes and dreams and fears,” Harrison said. Although cancer is not often thought of as a positive experience, Harrison says her book promotes a positive message.

“Moving from learning that I am going to die from metastatic breast cancer to learning how to live with hope and wonder and joy,” Harrison said.

As for what the author hopes people will take away from the exhibit? Hope for the here and now, suggested Harrison.

“I think it is really important for people to remember that, even if we are living with something like chronic or terminal illness, or depression or anxiety, that its possible to still find in life the beautiful things, to still live well with what time we have,” she said.

The message resonates with people of all walks of life, who are dealing with diseases or other obstacles.

“I just don’t want people to feel so alone, it’s very easy to feel isolated when you are living with a chronic or terminal illness. I wanted to put something out there that would make people feel like, what they are going through, not that it isn’t special, but it isn’t unique that there is a community of people that can offer support,” Harrison said.

The book has won several awards:

  • 2016 Governor General’s Literary Award Finalist
  • 2017 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Winner
  • 2017 Joe Shuster Award Nominee

The books drawings were originally done as  a way to cope with the disease, a way to move forward in a good way. After sharing them with friends also living with metastatic breast cancer, Harrison said she was encouraged to share them more widely as a means to helping people. That motivated her to put them online, and about a month later, she received an invite to share them on the Walrus website, and not long after that, she was contacted by the company that would end up publishing the book.

“It all happened really fast, which is amazing because the median survival of the disease is only 2 to 3 years, and because it’s a legacy piece, it’s something I could do that will hopefully live on and continue to help people.”

In-Between Days: A Memoir about Living with Cancer is available at any book store, and online. The exhibition runs until January 13, 2018.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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