Current Temporary Exhibitions

Lady Lump and Lockdown Collection: Penny Mitchell

December 2023 onwards


MKUH Cancer Centre Link Corridor Exhibition Space

This collection of photographs and prose were compiled by a Milton Keynes University Hospital patient who frequently walked the corridor in which her work is currently being shown. They were kindly offered for display with the intention to bring a momentary sense of colour and joy, but also with the particular hope that other cancer patients looking at the work would recognise that the person who has made it understands and for a moment that they perhaps wouldn’t feel so alone.

In 2020, Penny was diagnosed with breast cancer. Creativity became her comfort blanket and afforded an opportunity to tell a different story, her story,whilst life around her changed dramatically but one thing remained constant.

︎ Next to each image is written prose – reflections on the wider moment in time captured in the image. We invite you to read the text if you feel able to and play the audio to listen to the artist’s voice.


︎ Audio Transcript

Mountain Fall
I know what I’m wearing.
I know what top I’ve got on.
I even know what lipstick I am wearing but I don’t remember anything else because you’ve just told me
I’ve got cancer…

and I’ve just been pushed off a cliff and I don’t even have a safety harness.


︎ Audio Transcript

Path of Trust

Nature finds a way.
Cancer brings an element of trust.
I’ve got to put my trust in the team.
I’ve got to put my trust in the doctors, the hospital.
I’ve got to put my trust in myself that nature will find a way.


︎ Audio Transcript

Seasons of Spring

Spring ran parallel with the start of my treatment.
Spring is my favourite season.

The seasons change, flowers grow again, tulips arrive and new life appears.

The season was changing as was I but I kept saying to myself there will be another Spring ahead.


︎ Audio Transcript

Chemo Hair

DON’T just look at my hair.

DON’T just look at my hair.

Chemo is far more than my hair there are so many different layers, it’s not just about losing your hair.


︎ Audio Transcript

Food of Control
Food became about control.

I couldn’t control the things that were going on around me.
I couldn’t control the pandemic but I could control what I ate.

So, I spent my lockdown days loading the dishwasher and unloading the dishwasher cooking morning, noon and night creating dishes for me and that was in my control.


︎ Audio Transcript

Bees on Flowers
Some one hit my pause button when I was told I had cancer.

To have that during a lockdown allowed me that time to just STOP and take a moment and reflect and that involved just looking around at the simple things in life whether that be a bee landing on a flower or a tree rustling in the wind that was just beautiful.


︎ Audio Transcript

Feet on Sand
Throughout my treatment I just had to keep moving.

I just had to keeping putting one foot in front of the other and just keep walking.
Some days I might not of known where I was going but I needed to keep walking and not to stop.


︎ Audio Transcript

Green Spaces
I wrapped myself around nature I embraced. It became
my sanctuary,
my go to place,
my security.
My place to laugh, cry, dance.
My place to rest, face my fears, my place to reflect.


︎ Audio Transcript

Lone Tree
I’m stripped.
I’m bare,
I’m vulnerable,
I’m exposed.

My identity is going but still in the distance I can always see there are blue skies ahead.


︎ Audio Transcript

Paths and Crossroads
Some days I just didn’t know what path I was taking and you reach a point in life and it takes you down a different path. Not the path that I ever imagined, ever thought or expected but it was taking me down a different way.


︎ Audio Transcript

Creative Toolbox

Creativeness became a huge part of my recovery toolbox. One of the main things that my toolbox was all around me, everywhere, within nature and I was soaking it all up because I had the time to do this. From painting, writing, styling, gardening, they all moved me forward.


︎ Audio Transcript

Waves Crashing
Endless rounds of waves of different emotions came crashing over me.
Appointments , scans , sit up, lay down, hold your breath, undress , get dressed, text messages, phone calls, emails, injections.

How many tablets do I need to take?
Physio, keep moving, rest when you can,

Have you any questions?


︎ Audio Transcript
Trees Ahead

This was taken on my birthday just after my treatment had finished.

It reflects how I still felt I guess. That there was still tress ahead and I couldn’t always see in the distance but it was really about taking step by step and one day at a time.


︎ Audio Transcript

Beach Huts
Don’t think we are all the same because we’ve had a cancer diagnosis.
Everyone deals with it differently and you do what you do when it knocks on your door.

There is no right or wrong way only your way.


︎ Audio Transcript
Imperfect but Perfect

Take a closer a look. I’m not perfect but ...
I’m still beautiful,

I’m still here and I’m still beautiful.

I might be just a little bit different but I’m still beautiful and I’m here.


︎ Audio Transcript


I’m known for my love of lipsticks.
I love a lipstick.
I’d loved lipsticks before cancer knocked on my door like an unexpected visitor so I was NOT going to stop putting on my lipstick.

It was just part of me and that didn’t belong to cancer.


︎ Audio Transcript

Questions of Time
Time is everything.
Time moves forward, time stops.

Time becomes so important when you think your time is going to be cut short.

What you do with it.

Who you want to spend it with.

Who you don’t.

They all become about questions of time however time will bring change and along with that comes positives.

In Penny’s words:

“This collection of Lady Lump and Lockdown came about after my own diagnosis of cancer during 2020. Being creative is something I have always liked doing and being wrapped up in nature became a huge pull for me. I had time to stand and take it all in and I used that time to really look around me.  I am not an artist in the sense of the words... more of a woman who hopes this helps one person not to feel isolated and to bring a little understanding to others. If I do that then job done.”  [Penny Mitchell]

︎ Read more of Penny blog on Beauty Despite [Opens external link]

︎ @yellow.kettle

If you have been affected by this exhibition: please see our Useful Organisations pages for local organsations who can offer support.

© All artworks courtesy of the artist (2021)

Explore more current exhibitions ︎︎︎


︎ Sales Enquiries:

Did you know? Many of the Artworks in our temporary exhibitions are for sale; at least 25% from artwork sales goes directly to Arts for Health MK and helps to fund exhibitions by emerging and established artists at Milton Keynes University Hospital; look after the Hospital’s collection and fund health and wellbeing focused arts projects in the local community. To enquire, please contact:

Tel:          01908 996125

Arts for Health Milton Keynes
Facilities Directorate
Milton Keynes Hospital
Standing Way
Milton Keynes

Privacy Policy
01908 996124

︎ Facebook

︎ Twitter

︎ Instagram

Arts for Health Milton Keynes is the working name of MK Arts for Health charity number 1107625  company number 05137693