A Woman Defined

Art & Culture by Mahvash Mossaed

Dear Dr. B: A Cancer Story – Cancer Exhibition

August 21, 2012

“This exhibition is dedicated to my mother, since she has gone the sky is not quite as blue.”

Exhibition Features Mixed Media on Actual Patients’ MRIs, Photographic Collages and Larger Than Life Pencil and Charcoal Drawings on Paper Documenting the Struggles and Triumphs of Cancer Patients

Dear Dr. B., a Cancer Story, an art exhibition presented by Mahvash Mossaed, is a compassionate portrayal of cancer patients’ journeys as represented in two and three dimensional works of art. The exhibition opened at the Mahvash Studio Gallery located in Artist walk, Santa Ana, California on August 6, 2005. The exhibition runs through November. .

Larger than life drawings in pencil and charcoal, photographic collages, plaster castings of patients’ body parts and mixed media on authentic patient MRIs will be on display at the gallery located at 213 1/2 Main Street in Santa Ana. An uplifting book authored by Mahvash entitled “Dear Dr. B.,” contains photographs from the exhibition and text in the form of notes by a cancer patient to her doctor. This cancer project also includes a 30-minute film production of her work and a non-profit website which completes the circle of support for cancer by accepting donations to various cancer organizations.

Artist and writer, Mahvash Mossaed, worked with many patients as a volunteer in the artist in residence program at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. the hospital patients she worked with inspired her to document the various stages of the illness.

The artist in residence program is a healing concept and program described by Mahvash as a way for artists to help patients communicate their feelings through drawings painting, poetry and plays. “Volunteering provided me with the insight and drive to create and share the messages of the patients,” she said.

Every work of art in the show contains images of Mahvash’s mother. “I chose to use my mother as an ambassador for all patients who experience pain.”

To help individuals work through the concept of loss, Mahvash made casts of the body parts they would lose in surgery. “It was special and meaningful to them to make a cast and keep it with them if they desired.”

This cancer exhibition is featured in two parts: the first part, opening on August 6th, deals with the feelings of fear, despair, loneliness and hopelessness that cancer patents go through. A second stage of the exhibition begins in November, 2005 through February, 2006. Its subject will be the healing power of belief systems such as faith, hope and God.

“Life is a mystery; we don’t know where we come from, and we don’t know where we’ll be going but we know there was a hand that brought us here and will also take us away … in that hand I trust.”

The above excerpt is from the book: “Dear Dr. B, a Cancer Story” featuring the notes of a cancer patent to her doctor by Mahvash Mossaed.



*The last two images above are pages from an article written by Dr. Jeffery Kuo, oncologist, about Mahvash’s exhibition featured in “The Lancet Oncology.”


  • NBC News’ Peggy Pico interviews Mahvash Mossaed. Dear Dr. B. Cancer Exhibition in Mahvash’s Santa Ana Gallery, as aired on MSNBC Nov. 11th & 12th during the 4:30pm news broadcast. [WATCH VIDEO HERE | DOWNLOAD VIDEO]
  • Linda Maxwell from Adelphia (Channel 10) interviewing Mahvash on her Cancer Exhibition in her Santa Ana studio. [WATCH VIDEO HERE]
  • Mahvash’s gallery featuring the Dear Dr. B. Cancer Exhibition. [WATCH VIDEO HERE]



Read an article written by Dr. Jeffery Kuo, oncologist, about Mahvash’s exhibition featured in “The Lancet Oncology.”

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Posted in Art & Exhibitions, Mahvash Mossaed, Media |

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