Antoine Gaber mixes art and cancer research in his works, which help fund the search for a cure for cancer

timesglobal

A powerful message

Art & Entertainment
Section B (Front Page)
by Grant Kerr

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Antoine Gaber, who mixes art and cancer research, was recently in St John working on some new paintings. At top is Breaking New Ground in Cancer

Seven years ago Antoine Gaber picked up a paint brush for the first time. Now the cancer researcher from Toronto is setting up a foundation that will help fund the search for a cure to the deadly disease.”It became a second career,” Gaber says of his painting hobby that brought him to Saint John recently.Don’t be surprised if you see the dashing, Cairo-born man in your neighborhood over the next couple of weekends as he gathers subjects for a series of new paintings. He is in the midst of a cross-country tour that will find him painting and studying every region of Canada.”It’s a passion,” he says of both of his vocations. “It’s a passion for the beauty of nature and a passion for life.”Like most Canadians, Gaber’s life has been touched by cancer. Almost everyone has a family member or friend who has been stricken with the disease. Gaber has lost aunts and, as he points out, one out of nine women develops breast cancer, one of his specialties.Gaber’s launching of the Antoine Gaber Cancer Research Foundation is timely since October is breast cancer awareness month. In 1994, on the eve of his 37th birthday, Gaber decided to try his hand at painting and rendered his first work, a copy of one of the impressionist painter Degas’ works. It’s in the impressionistic vein that Gaber works mostly, although he also toils in realism.

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He is particularly proud of a painting that was used to launch the breast cancer drug Arimidex, featuring a woman with an arm slung over her face in shame after her right breast has been removed. That breast is carefully hidden by a sheer while her perfectly formed left breast is visible. Her body, meanwhile, reflects the weight gain of women who have undergone cancer treatments.

It’s a powerful work that now hangs in England, one of several countries in which the artist has painted.

Through his foundation, Gaber soon hopes to have all sorts of reproductions of his work, and other artists, up for sale. There will be cards, calendars, posters, umbrellas and the usual collectibles that you might find in a tourist gift shop.

“The main goal of the foundation is cancer research and for the promotion of artists who are doing things for the foundation.”

For more on Gaber, visit his Web site at www.antoinegaber.com.