'Support the Tatas': Women bare their bodies for Knoxville auction

Proceeds to help woman diagnosed with breast cancer

The adage that “a picture’s worth a thousand words” barely scratches the surface of the story told by the images for this year’s third annual Support the Tatas Auction.

This Knoxville auction involves photographs of women who have painted their bodies in the hope of raising awareness of breast cancer. The proceeds from each year’s fundraiser go to one woman who has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer to help pay for treatments.

Since the very successful first show almost two years ago, the auction has continued to grow from 10 to 95 female participants.

Organizers said they would like to take the auction to a national level. Ideas such as a calendar and a coffee table book are being discussed.

Ammi Knight, one of the artists involved in painting and organizing the auction, said there is only one day dedicated to painting and photography. The four or five hours that day are never enough.

“It’s just done so well and has been so well-received that we want to try to do it twice a year, and we’d love to share the idea with other cities and other towns,” Knight said.

Despite the important message, the unusual art may draw a few skeptical eyes.

“I would like to think that when you look at the images, you see the art. … It’s really important to keep an open mind and keep in mind the experiences of these women and also the amount of strength it takes to put yourself out there,” said Tovah Greenwood, the project’s photographer.

The important thing is the message.

Amber Crouse, a breast cancer survivor, has been involved in the auction every year. Crouse said people’s involvement is vital to the prevention of breast cancer.

“It’s happening to a younger population more than ever,” Crouse said. “I think people need to pay attention to what’s going on. … I shouldn’t know as many women as I do in Knoxville with breast cancer.”

This year’s art show features women who have battled the disease sharing their stories and encouraging those who may be going through the same fight.

According to Greenwood, breast cancer examination pamphlets are also on hand to give out.

This year’s Support the Tatas Auction will be 6-8:30 p.m. on Friday at URBhana on Gay Street, with images on display for the month of June.

“It’s not a pretty little pink ribbon, it’s a really horrifying thing. In the pictures, I get my pictures taken so you can see the scars,” Crouse said.

Laura Vela may be reached at 865-342-6336.

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Comments » 2

SolWol25 writes:

Event organizer Tovah Greenwood deserves more credit for putting this show together for the past three years. I attended the last two events and was amazed at her hard work and dedication. Having co-organizers this year will make an already awesome show even more spectacular. Keep up the great work Tovah Love et al!

yloveday writes:

Another hit out of the park for Tovah Love Photography and the other event organizers. It's great to hear positive news about women's issues for a change. Many thanks to the artists and URBhana as well--and much gratitude to the brave models!

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