Pfizer Norway Erects Statue of Woman With MBC
Last month, Norway unveiled a bronze statue of Cecilie, a single mother of three living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), to raise awareness for patients with the terminal illness.
Women with MBC often feel unseen and forgotten; the statue, created over the course of two years by Pfizer, The Norwegian Breast Cancer Society (NBCS), The Norwegian Sculptors' Society and TRY, aims to offer inspiration, awareness and more discussion about MBC.
The statue, created by Håkon Anton Fagerås, was unveiled at Eidsvoll Square, near the Norwegian Parliament.
"Cecilie" is permanently located in Spikersuppa, and features a QR code that brings people to a 9-minute documentary on Cecilie's story and the creation of the statue.
We spoke with Thea Bjørndahl Iversen and Niklas Hellborg, copywriter and art director, respectively, at TRY, about the statue, MBC and how art helps us cope with life's difficulties.
Muse: How did you come up with the idea for a statue?
Thea Bjørndahl Iversen: Pfizer Norway asked us to contribute to more awareness towards MBC. We realized we had to think bigger than a traditional ad campaign. To cope with life struggles, we humans tend to search towards art. Art communicates in a way that opens up for dialogue, discussion and reflection. Art immortalizes, pays tribute and forces us to look at something we usually shy away from. Our idea was to create a figurative, direct and literal portrait of a real person with incurable breast cancer, to show the vulnerability together with the courage and strength one can achieve from being open about death. A statue with one breast and one scar. Right there in your face—so it would be impossible to walk past it without thinking 'breast cancer.'
What is the overall goal of the campaign?
Niklas Hellborg: It is almost a taboo not being able to survive breast cancer these days. Expressions like 'fighting cancer' or 'winning the battle against breast cancer' makes losing feel extra bad. Especially when winning is not an option. Stage four breast cancer is incurable. If more people are aware of all forms of breast cancer, it can help every day life feel a bit better and easier for patients with MBC.
Is funding lacking for MBC and those diagnosed with it?
Thea Bjørndahl Iversen: Health is a big priority in the Norwegian state budgets, and breast cancer has a lot of funding. But, and of course, the money prioritize the ones who actually have a chance to live. MBC patients can often experience that they're not prioritized to get relevant medicine, because they are too sick, or have too short to live. In a big and economic scale, this is completely logical, but on an individual level, this is life and death, and just three more weeks with your loved ones is all you want.
What does the campaign hope to convey to the Norwegian Parliament?
Niklas Hellborg: NBCS wants public attention. Politically, this is about maintaining and improving laws and regulations relevant for MBC patients. This spring, they led a signature campaign to shorten the process for approving new medicine. Having a statue in the middle of the Norwegian capital makes it easier to arrange protests, meetings and always have momentum for the incurable group.
*Click images to enlarge
Client: Pfizer Norway & Norwegian Breast Cancer Society
Advertising Agency: TRY
Creative & Copywriter: Thea Bjørndahl Iversen
Creative & Art Director: Nicklas Hellborg
Account Director: Arne Eggen
Project Managers: Trine Olsen & Natt Scheel
Film production: Tangrystan