New Doll: Surviving

9 years, 9 months ago 76
Posted in: New Doll




A porcelain tribute to breast cancer fighters and the choices they face.

In the growing awareness of Breast Cancer, a disease which appears to be the inevitable side-effect of womanhood, this doll was my attempt at working through my own personal fear of it, and facing up to the possibility that one day I could be amongst hundreds of thousands of women who develop it. I can only hope to be brave, like so many other women.

Extensive tattooing on the head and a little bit on the tips of the fingers. Halo is 10k yellow gold.

This doll is not for sale, as I’m not sure what to do with her yet.

More photos are coming.

76 Responses

  1. Eva says:

    She’s… Marina, she’s so beautiful. I know it seems backwards, but I think she looks even more whole without her prosthesis.

    Can we see a close up of her face? I so want to see the detail of those eyes. *in awe*

  2. Jayne says:

    Wow, what a wonderful testament to all women.
    Like Eva, I too prefer her without the prosthesis.

  3. Suok69 says:

    Wow. I have no words to describe my feelings. Never thought that such a horrible matter as a Breast Cancer can cause to create something so beautiful and surreal. She is beautiful with her pain and scars. She is a saint.

  4. Morgan says:

    This is so incredible. I, too, love her more without her breasts. I would love to see her auctioned off for a breast cancer charity, but I’m not sure if you’re into doing stuff like that.

  5. yani says:

    I think the thing to do with her would possibly be to auction her off and give the proceeds to the breast cancer charity of your choice.

    She is incredibly beautiful though. And the use of pink ribbon was a nice touch!

  6. The Old Maid says:

    I was thinking of a breast cancer charity at once too.
    She has such a sweet face which contrasts with the scars so much – it is a perfect tribute.

  7. My mum went through this. She was given 5 years to live. That was when I was 11. I’m 24 now. She’s still with me, she survived.

    every day, I am reminded that it is “in my genes” and what my future probably holds.

    I hope you do something special with this doll.

  8. MigMig says:

    Thank you for recognising fears of so many women, for acknowledging their pain and admiration for their resilience. This is a very beautiful and meaningful sculpture – without the prosthetic breasts.

  9. Habox says:

    this part of Ur Artworks I love most of.

  10. Maria says:

    Absolutely wonderful. She evokes many feelings in us women, all very powerful.
    Since you do not know what to do with her yet, may I be so bold to suggest that maybe have her up for auction and give some or all of the money to the breast cancer research?

  11. La Môme Néant says:

    This doll is absolutely incredible, you always chose the most sensitive subjects when making your dolls.

  12. GP says:

    She is absolutely magnificent. I am in awe. What an incredibly tribute. <3

  13. Sabrina says:

    She’s breathtaking. I have followed your work for quite some time – and love it, as well. I have never, however, seen a doll of yours that has impacted me as much as she has. I find her scars the most beautiful thing about her. As a woman, I thank you and salute you.

  14. Orangey says:

    Every one of your dolls continue to evoke this emotional response in me at first sight, I did not expect to see a new doll on your blog, and what a doll she is. I’m in awe right now. The concept and sophistication of execution is just mindblowing. The doll’s face is INCREDIBLY beautiful. Incredible, incredible, incredible. Her fingernails are a beautiful detail, and the tattooing on her head. The scars were wonderfully done as well, I’m always impressed by your tattooing. You’ve touched a subject that us as a female species are very mindful of, very well done.~

  15. MissLK says:

    Powerful, fragile, but at the same time very serene.

    She reminds me the will to survive is the beauty of life. Bravo, Marina!

  16. Kamila says:

    Prosthetic breasts on a doll… Interesting, and somehow doesn’t sit with me right, maybe that was the aim. Tough subject to get right.

    Would love to see the profile of her body with the scars. For me, she works better this way.

  17. Jean says:

    I second Eva´s request to see a detail shot of her face <3<3

  18. Kelly says:

    I have a friend who has survived breast cancer for five years now, and she told me that the prosthetics are so awkward, that she feels like people must notice that they are uneven or sagging. I think the awkwardness of the porcelain “prosthetics” is perfect. The underlying scars are perfect. I too would love to see a close-up of her eyes. It’s hard to imagine they are painted. Marina, you never cease to amaze me.

  19. Hazel says:

    Oh Marina! This doll is absolutely gorgeous… And ever so timely as I am, right now, facing the fear that someone in my family might have breast cancer. She is beautiful! The scars are beautiful! I’m absolutely in love with her!

  20. Gisela says:

    I love your work everytime I watch it…. but this is just amazing… I don´t have enoug words to describe…. thanks for her… and for hope… is amazing…

  21. Cyriaque-L says:

    A very nice masterpiece which symbolises so much. An amazing work and a strong message. I really like your work.

  22. Astera says:

    Just heart breaking and brilliant.

  23. Natasha says:

    She’s Stunning Marina. Simply Stunning!

  24. ziggytaku says:

    Wow she is so awesomely scary to me, not the doll it self but the truth of this world and i love the idea how you show it through your dolls…. so cool love her face so much and tattoo too^^

  25. Marina you asked me if I were a spy at your head office, well you are also a spy in my thoughts. My sister inlaw at 42 was told 2 weeks ago she has breast cancer. I just finished my project for you today, have just the writing to do. Well this was going to be my second submission choice. I had the tattoo on the head and the pink ribbon tattooed around her arm. With just one breast missing.

    If there is someone who could do it with such grace and serenity it has to be you.You have captured a look in her face thats overwhelming. You are amazing…

  26. I got it. The word that would best describe her face is Vulnerability.

  27. Ceejay says:

    Having had a mastectomy last year this is a very moving doll. The scars are very realistic and the look in her face of “this is me now” with the inherent vulnerability, and slight challenge – is what you experience when looking at oneself or displaying to others. The prosthetics are sort of real looking – like they are in real life – yet obviously awkward and false when removed – again like they are.
    I presume the bald head is a tribute to chemotherapy, plus the changes that go inside on coping with this cancer and the halo – well – maybe the change experienced. I am certainly a far different person to what I was 1 year ago. Life is different, hopefully I am “cured” – but part of oneself does feel “otherworldly”.
    Even in a body that has been horribly mutilated – there is still beauty to be found – which is an obvious, but difficult message for sufferers to comprehend.
    I think she should become part of the information available to breast cancer sufferers – if she was sold – she may disappear and she must be seen.
    What empathy you have Marina.
    Carolyn. (uk)

  28. Jewels says:

    My word… that is stunning. I can’t even tell you how much this moves me. Truly, some of your best work.

  29. Jenny H says:

    Congratulations Marina.

  30. Orangey says:

    Christiane, back to the drawing board I suppose.

  31. No I guess I will have to be satisfide with only one submission.Took me nearly 4 weeks to do this one,and for 2 weeks thinking of that one. No more time left.

    Once again hats off to you Marina…

  32. MollyTheWanderer(Idaho) says:

    She’s definitely a conversation piece. Did you have to look up what a womans chest looks like after a masectomy or are the scars more artistic? I think you should donate her to a Breast Cancer awareness group, they could auction her off and raise some money for research or what not and then we know she would go to someone who will definitely appreciate her.

    I like the tatooing, and her face is very pretty. Another wonderful, inspiring doll.

  33. Ani Hudson says:

    As a 25 yr breast cancer survivor (both were removed at the same time when I was 30) I can say the doll is spot on in the look the chest has even after the most skillful surgeon’s scalpel work. I never thought I’d see a doll with a mastectomy, you have presented it well. Wish I had some of those little boobies on a satin string in my size! :-D

    I did a painting titled ‘They Robbed My Chest But Left the Best of Me’ some years after my surgery, it was a testament that women are not diminished in any way just because they lose their breast(s) to cancer.

    Don’t fear getting a diagnosis of breast cancer, it is one of the most treatable cancers! My Mom was diagnosed before me,she is still with me. I rather knew I would be diagnosed and so faced it head on with an all out will to live when I was. A bit of humor didn’t hurt either. My doctors told me I was the funniest patient they’d ever met.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful creation.

  34. Eiko says:

    This is an incredibly powerful doll. Amazing work!

  35. hmm says:

    I don’t know if I’m being too critical or what…. but chemo left me not just with baldness of the head, but also took my eyebrows and lashes as well. It’s true fighting for life itself is a beauty, but I get a strange feeling when the non cancer patients try to … romanticize the thing and leaves that out. I guess out of jealousy, perhaps. I love your dolls, definately respect your approach, plus I didn’t get a close up look of this piece so I can’t say really… may be that kind of hair loss things differ from people to people…Oh never mind.
    My dr told me that I’ve got 2 more years. To hell with them:D Gonna live more than 20 years!

  36. J. David McKenney says:

    This is the most stunning doll I have ever seen! She’s so powerful!

  37. King says:

    She’s very beautiful, and also a haunting reminder of something that plagues so many women.

    Seems pretty clear to me what you should do with her. Auction her off and donate the proceeds to a breast cancer charity. More money is spent each year on researching treatments for erectile dysfunction than is spent on researching breast cancer and Alzheimers combined. Maybe this doll can help make a difference.

  38. Eva says:

    To everyone who’s telling Marina she should donate the doll to a charity to auction her off… I think you are missing the most valuable thing this doll is doing. She’s making us think and talk about breast cancer. She’s bringing survivors out to talk to us.

    The doll is not going to encourage public discourse in a private collector’s hands.

    I think Marina should keep her so that she can exhibit Surviving and continue to get people to think and talk about breast cancer. Too often “cancer awareness” is reduced to just a pink ribbon image tacked onto things, rather than a tribute to the living breathing survivors around us. This doll is that tribute in a very raw and beautiful way. The more people see her the more people will talk and think and step forward to speak.

  39. Candice says:

    Eva – I love your suggestion. And, Marina did at one point mention that she was creating a “body of work” to eventually have a traveling show available. Either way, this piece is so incredible.

    Marina, your work brings tears to my eyes. I strive to move viewers with my own work, but you hit a nerve, every time, and I love it. Thank you for sharing your incredible talent and gift with the world. The world is a more beautiful place with your creations in it.

  40. Zeda says:

    I agree with Eva. While the suggestion that she be auctioned off and that the money be donated to breast cancer research is a nice one, and very popular amongst the commentors both here and on DeviantArt, I believe that preserving this doll as part of her own body of work and bringing her to gallery shows and other such functions will allow Marina to share far more of her with the world than could be accomplished by a single sale. If she can be kept in Marina’s personal collection and displayed in gallery shows, she will inspire people to donate money to breast cancer research over and over. She can be displayed at paid-attendance gallery shows with a portion of the proceeds being donated, or she can make guest appearances at breast cancer awareness functions and draw attention to the beauty and the impact of Marina’s work.

    I would absolutely, deeply love to hold and to own something as beautiful as this Survivor, but I think that this work of art would be at her best if Marina is able to hold onto her and share her in gallery showings for years to come, and that allowing her to become a part of someone’s unseen private collection would be a terrible shame. She’s beautiful, and more people should be able to see her and feel the emotional impact that so many of the rest of us have felt ourselves.

    Bravo, Marina, your work is – as always – exquisite. ♥

  41. Jon Songserm says:

    My mom died cuase breast cancer.

  42. Valaira says:

    Oh my god, she’s just beautiful, so fragile and perfect. She’s truely awe inspireing. So Perfect.

  43. Joyce says:

    Wow, what a stunning and emotive work of art!
    Sadly, the occurrence of breast cancer for women (men can have it also) is so much higher than most of us realize. Do not ignore your body!
    Marina, I know you will do as your heart guides you regarding this art doll!

  44. Enrico says:

    Very powerful! I agree with Zeda–this should be shown on a regular basis to increase breast cancer awareness, rather than sold.

  45. Marcia says:

    Beautiful in thought and aesthetics. Thank you for sharing your dolls on the internet. If ever I get a chance to see your work in person, I will be awe struck and tearful, I just know that!

  46. Agaton says:

    I just came to think about how wonderful it would be to have an art book with photos of your dolls. Any plans for something like that?

    This doll is your best one I think. The look on her face is perfect. And the prosthesis are perfect as well in all their horribilaty (is that even a word?): they give me chills. More so than the scars.

  47. roo says:

    thank you.
    She’s so brave

  48. Orangey says:

    I like Eva and Zeda’s suggestions.

  49. Tatie says:

    yep no sale Dollie kip her show her to the world

  50. I 2nd that Orangey. Think its a great ideal.

  51. Nathalie Ortega García says:

    Dear Marina,
    I have been diagnosed breast cancer almost a month ago,so I’m at the beginning of all the process.I have cried a lot and rebel myself to the thought that I’m going to be very sick and weak for several months and probably will loose my hair and one of my breast,more than probably.In addiction there’s all that tests the doctors have done to me…
    I can’t decribe all the emotions your doll has made me feel!,I have burst into tears and yet in awe because, despite of the scars,she’s so beautiful!.
    Marina,you should do with this doll what your heart tells you.
    My personal opinion doesn’t matter but I think she must be seen by as much as possible persons because she can move a lot and this is important for all the people that are concerned with cancer,any kind of cancer,survivors and relatives.
    I’m going to fight cancer and I’m going to WIN.
    Thanks,Marina for your art and your emphatie.

  52. Orangey says:

    Nathalie Ortega García, you will win, there’s hope and strength rooted deep in the core of each person, and those are the strongest weapons we have. I wish you luck!~

  53. Zeda says:

    Ooh, I agree with Agaton – an artbook of compiled high-quality photographs of your dolls would be a wonderful idea! ♥

  54. Nathalie Ortega García says:

    Thanks a lot Orangey!
    this is a difficult moment in my life but I think I’m lucky since this type of cancer Has a 90% of cure!.
    I agree with you and Zeda and Eva.

  55. KarolinFelix says:

    That’s very touching…. I’m also terrified by what may someday happen….

    I have to admit Marina, that I knew you will make that doll.

    I was thinking that it must happen because you treat your dolls like women or through them present the things that happen to women.

    I also think that many people should see that doll. Maybe people that take part in the contst should all post in on FB? With a message to post it further? It’s a message worth forwarding.

  56. Maria says:

    I love your ”Enchanted Dolls” )
    Today I saw a new artickle on your site. I was very glad to know about new Annual Contest, because I some interesting doll ideas and I think you’ll like them. Once I tried to make a ball jointed doll , of course I’ve made it but she doesn’t look like my idea. Sorry for my very bad English=)Sorry I didn’t understand where I can send my works ?

  57. a says:

    Of all your amazing work, this one has touched me the most…words fail me…

  58. Jayne Wourms says:

    I have had all the reqs for a mammogram and bone density exam sitting on my fridge X 5 or more months now. Perhaps today is the day to finally make those appointments and have them done hey?
    Stirred to action,

  59. Oh, my heart is filled with so much emotion at seeing this lovely creation Marina. She truly represents new life. You have captured a lovely innocence in her face (eyes) and true beauty with the tattooing on her head and hands. Wow….any breast cancer survivor or advocate would be thrilled to have won such a piece as the result of a charity auction.


  60. I love the point that CEEJAY pointed out on the 18th of February. This doll should be seen versus stored in a glass case in someone’s home. She is almost an ambassador of some kind for Breast Cancer survivors.

    I’m still quite moved by this exquisite piece.

  61. dyp says:

    This is an amazing doll. As an henna artist; I’m humbled to see the body art on this doll. This is certainly your most beautiful work yet!

  62. Eliza says:

    Thank you for this. It’s all I can say.

  63. Silvana says:

    I have no words. It´s powerful!

  64. Sinny says:

    She is absolutely beautiful. What a wonderful concept. Thank you, Marina, for sharing.

  65. Sissym says:

    I was very touched by your proposal. It is the mix of soft and feminine beauty with the reality of many women around the world.

  66. Shelly says:

    She is beautiful and I love how you went with the scars rather than the masticized breasts.

    Have you decided what to do with her? I hope that you have found something wonderful to do with her.

    if you haven’t, another option I was thinking about is something more immediate for the survivors… Or donating it to a breast cancer organization for their promotional use?

    Did you know there are reconstructive tattoo specialists? They can make it look as if you have nipples, aurola’s, and breasts.

  67. Melly says:

    beginning this challenge. I choose to go breastless. Approaching my third bout of chemo, looking forward to speaking to my surgeon, I wish I could hug this doll as if she were me.

  68. […] “Surviving.” I had no idea that this sort of doll work existed. I AM INTO IT. […]

  69. jen says:

    This is a moving and beautiful piece of art. I had a double mastectomy 5 years ago at the age of 37. Though cancer robbed me of so much, more than one might even imagine, it gifted me with an appreciation of every second (good and bad) of my life. It also gifts you with a quiet strength. You captured that so well in this exquisite piece.

  70. Christie Jo says:

    Just 8 weeks out of my bilateral mastectomy and still suffering from such a great loss emotionally, this doll really says so much. I would love to have one of these dolls. Those who have never been through an ordeal such as this always think they are saying just the right thing when in all actuality I have, on many occasions, wanted people to just not speak to me at all. Thank you for sharing.

  71. Elle says:

    What about kickstarter? You could have a whole line of dolls that could be sold to the public. This doll touches close to home for me. I am now going through the reconstruction process after my bilateral mastectomy. This doll is a sign of hope for so many of us.

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  73. Would love to buy. I’m a 2 time Survivor and this is so me… with a bit more
    I’ve since started a breast cancer org Fight Club Survivor, so women facing treatment will be encouraged to fight like hell and get thru it.
    This is amazing.

  74. Rayvin Maddock says:

    I am a breast cancer survivor with a double mastectomy and no reconstruction, like this breautiful doll. This is super touching for me and absolutely a beautiful tribute to so many women (and so many younger ones) having to deal with this horrible disease. I was only 30 when I was diagnosed and each year, more and more young women are diagnosed and it shakes their very world, like it shook mine.

    Thank you for making beautiful art and thinking of us. <3

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