Mackenna Willis

Mackenna Willis

James W. Strong Graphic Design Studio Achievement Award


Description of Work

Postoma - 2021 - Graphic design, Video, Digital - Not for Sale

Artist's Statement

For some, life after cancer can be a fearful transition. There’s the worry of cancer recurrence, not having the same physicality as before, mental acuity, living with survivor’s guilt, and the fatigue of retelling the story again and again and again. After sharing these emotions with my adolescent/young adult support group, I was surprised to see that everyone in the room shook their head in agreement. This is something that happens to other survivors too! From research (though not everyone’s experience is the same), I discovered that there are many others who’ve gone through a similar phase. An in-between phase.

This is what I’d like to call the “limbo stage.” It’s somewhere stuck between claiming survivorship and being claimed by survivorship. When becoming diagnosed with cancer, there comes many new fears and challenges, but the battle doesn’t end
after treatments. This is a topic that isn’t commonly discussed and “Postoma”

was created to show an additional side of cancer. As recently declared cancer free in 2020 and a senior at Bowling Green State University, I wanted to personally overcome these issues within myself with hopes to inspire other “limbo” survivors along the way.

The direction chosen for “Postoma” was very personal to me. To combine my
past skills with current ones, creating a short film was believed to be the most effective solution. This was the first steps and an unknowing shift to accepting both experiences. Through the storytelling of my most postponed project yet (5 years to be exact), the destroying and reforming of my radiotherapy mask can be used as a symbol and documentation for growth, progress, and optimism. Sharing your story can encourage and inspire others. Besides being a survivor of cancer, who are you?

Link to Artist's Website

If you wish to purchase any of these pieces, please contact the gallery director, Jacqueline Nathan (


Updated: 03/19/2021 07:38PM