In 2012, Martine Allard was a resident at the Quebec Cancer Foundation's Norman Fortier Lodge during her medical treatment for breast cancer.
It was there that she met the Foundation's art therapist, who invited her to participate in the art therapy workshop.
She then discovered the power of art as a source of resilience and embraced it as a way of expressing herself free from censorship of any kind.
The workshops not only allowed her to explore her artistic talents for the first time, but also allowed her to meet other beneficiaries of the Foundation. She formed such lasting friendships at the lodge that even after leaving as a resident, she continued attend the Foundation's art therapy workshops.
Her passion for art therapy grew day by day, to the point that she devoted a large part of her time to her art and transformed her apartment into a studio.
Her works vividly portray the physical and emotional suffering she endured throughout her ordeal with cancer. For Martine, discovering a second life through art has become the central motif of her life after cancer.
After participating in several group exhibitions, she realized her dream: a first solo exhibition as an artist, Alter Égale, which develops the theme of women’s images of themselves and their bodies.
Anyone whose life has been touched by cancer and art is invited to meet Martine Allard at the Centre d'Apprentissage Parallèle Gallery. Advance appointments can be made at:


I am not a number
"I made this first collage during my treatment for breast cancer. I chose to represent my experience on four different levels. In this triptych, the background, the main framework, is my mental state, my extreme fear of chemotherapy. The arch on the left is my psychological distress; the one in the center is the dehumanizing and physically painful experience of being totally at the mercy of medical treatments. On the right is the dark side of spirituality: chaos and fatalism." - Martine Allard

Hide the breast I cannot bear to see
"This sculpture is a self-portrait that highlights the trauma of my breast cancer surgery and the taboo of talking about it socially.
The broken porcelain represents my psychological fragility, while the shards of mirrors represent my mutilated breast and my inability to look at it. The trauma was both physical and psychological.

I chose the porcelain motifs because of their symbolism: the flowers recall femininity, fertility and female sexuality, the fruits, motherhood. The ruins of the castle behind the sculpture are an evocation of childhood and the socially-constructed ideal of femininity." - Martine Allard


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