An Artist Reimagined Iconic Cartoon Characters As Breast Cancer Survivors

    "No one is immune to cancer," artist AleXsandro Palombo told BuzzFeed News, "not even Disney princesses."

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    AleXsandro Palombo worked in fashion for many years, until four years ago when he developed a rare form of cancer and became disabled.

    "Since then I decided to dedicate myself more strongly to social activism through art," the Italian artist told BuzzFeed News.

    Much of Palombo's art consists of turning celebrities, like the royal family, into cartoons, or drawing iconic cartoon characters in politically charged situations.

    Most of his work exists solely online, either on his blog, Humor Chic, or shared on social media like Facebook and Instagram.

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    For his new series, Palombo said he decided to use cartoon beauty icons, such as Disney princesses or Betty Boop, as symbols of "hope, beauty, and courage," depicting them as breast cancer survivors.

    The 41-year-old described his art as "social activist, satirical, post-pop," to BuzzFeed News and cited Andy Warhol as one of his biggest influences.

    "I lived fully in the 80's, the boom of pop culture, the years of consumerism, the cult of celebrity and the desire for lightness," Palombo said.

    "I love the cartoon characters just like Andy Warhol loved celebrities, and cartoons are more human and real than celebrities."

    The series was initially inspired by a friend of his he lost to breast cancer a few years ago.

    "She was so young, so beautiful, a great personality and she was talented," he told BuzzFeed News. "[She was] one of those person [sic] you would never think something so devastating can happen to."

    He wanted to create the series to demonstrate that "no one is immune to cancer," not even Disney princesses.

    Though Palombo's focus on artistic activism began recently, he is no stranger to fighting for social causes.

    When he was young, he said he regularly volunteered with the Red Cross. Later, he joined international peace missions with the Italian Navy for two years, and has since regularly devoted time to human and animal rights activism.

    "I firmly believe that the most important cause is to help," he said. "It does not matter what means you use. It matters that you do it."

    Another main goal of the series, Palombo said, was to spread awareness about breast cancer among younger generations.

    He believes educating "the new generation" about breast cancer prevention – self-checking to catch the cancer early, for example – is an important step toward defeating cancer completely.

    But most of all, he wants to celebrate the strength and beauty of breast cancer survivors. "Every woman is beautiful, even after a mastectomy," Palombo said. "And every woman should know that."

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