SVA alumnus Joan Di Lieto (BFA 1985 Fine Arts) believes in the healing power of art. As a cancer survivor, Di Lieto is now hoping to inspire others battling the disease through “Project Miele,” a permanent installation recently added to the lobby of The
Ruttenberg Cancer Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where she successfully received treatment.
A series of triptychs, Di Lieto’s paintings stem in part from the word “miele,” Italian for “honey,” which has been used as a medicinal aid for thousands of years. A honeycomb pattern is prominent in one of Di Lieto’s works, with its healing light shining from within. “I want this healing power to leap off of the canvas and envelop visitors, especially those in pain,” Di Lieto says.
The works in “Project Miele” also feature lush greens, meant to symbolize hope, endurance, tranquility and health. In one of Di Lieto’s hybrid triptychs, a half representational and half abstract piece, an olive tree represents resourcefulness and agelessness. Careful thought was also given to the use of triptych. “The form of the painting directly corresponds with the elements that were brought together in my story with Mt. Sinai for victory over cancer—the physical, the spiritual, and the scientific,” Di Lieto explains. “Every person who steps within The Ruttenberg Cancer Center, whether patient, visitor, or staff, shares not only the optimism of a better future but the hope that life will go on.”