Breast cancer
AI-generated portraits show potential future moments for those living with secondary breast cancer Pexels

Breast cancer research and charity group Breast Cancer Now launched the "Gallery of Hope," a powerful art project using photography and artificial intelligence (AI) to raise awareness for continued research funding in secondary breast cancer.

The Saatchi Gallery hosted "Gallery of Hope" for two days in March. The exhibition powerfully explored the significance of time for those living with secondary cancer. According to the support charity's official website, "This exhibition was made to show what that hope looks like."

The exhibition, created with the help of the agency BMB, featured real people living with secondary breast cancer, including some of the estimated 61,000 in the UK. The participants shared their hopes for the future through images depicting the cherished moments they most yearn to see.

A documentary film shedding light on the creation of "Gallery of Hope" was also released. It followed the participants' journeys through personal short movies directed by Jessie Ayles. The exhibition, held March 13-14th, showcased a unique blend of photography and AI.

The collection is still available to view online and will be promoted on social media until the end of the month. The exhibition featured portraits taken by renowned photographer Jillian Edelstein. AI models then transformed these portraits into artworks reflecting Edelstein's signature style, reminiscent of her portraits of Nelson Mandela, Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Kate Moss.

Fighting breast cancer through creativity

BMB partnered with Untold Studios to create this innovative AI element for the project. The display included scenes like Louise Hudson, a dancer and stage performer, gracing the stage with a solo from "The Nutcracker" at the annual Chelsea Ballet School performance, which unfolded before her adoring husband's eyes.

Louise has secondary breast cancer, like all the other participants. While some might expect despair at seeing an improbable future, Louise confessed it sparked inspiration within her.
"There is that sort of [thought], 'I really wanna make it, I really wanna make it,' but a lot of people are saying that with my positive attitude, there's no reason why I can't, so I'm taking each day as it comes," she said.

The exhibition showcased similar aspirations for other participants. Their photographs depicted them in cherished moments with loved ones, at future events they might not witness. A separate work features Nina Lopes, who can be seen walking around Japan with her teenage daughter dressed in traditional clothing.

In contrast to the snapshot of Japan's iconic cherry blossoms, Mel Khaled's portrait depicts an olive tree in Cyprus. The picture suggests a scene where Khaled is hosting an opening party for a wellness retreat she and her husband plan to establish.

Diagnosed with secondary breast cancer following recurring shoulder pain, Katie Enell, a 31-year-old resident of Liverpool with an eight-year-old son named Theo, envisions her future wedding day in 2025 with her partner Liam in these images.

Simon Vincent, Director of Research, Support and Influencing at Breast Cancer Now, highlighted the importance and impact of their work.

He said: "This exhibition hits home just how much more needs to be done for the estimated 61,000 people living with secondary breast cancer in the UK and the vital role of research in bringing hope – and indeed time – so that people with the disease live to see the future moments that matter so much to them."

A recent study by researchers identified nearly 1,000 chemicals in everyday products, potentially increasing the risk of breast cancer. However, there's promising news: UK scientists are developing a discreet, bra-integrated breast cancer monitoring tool.