My name is Esther Maria Pagan aka Star Angel. Born in Youngstown, Ohio but raised in the Bronx. I went to college at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parson’s School of Design. My hands are my livelihood. I worked in the garment industry in the 80’s. I loved working with people and using my hands and creativity to be part of a design team. I needed change and went on to use my hands in a different facet.
I went to the Swedish Institute, “The Harvard of Massage Schools”, and became a NYS licensed massage therapist in 1999’. I have been a massage therapist for more than a decade. In the interim, I became a certified art handler through a grant that was awarded to Bronx Council on the Arts. The Municipal Art Society and Lincoln Center funded this grant. I was blessed to have been part of this program. Today I work as a massage therapist and I have become my own personalized business regarding health and wellness through bodywork. As a massage therapist, I volunteer through hospice. I reach out to those in pain and need their hand held in their most ailing time. I had the pleasure of having my work exhibited the fall of 2013’ at Longwood Gallery at Hostos Community College, dedicate to bring Breast Cancer awareness for Women of Color.
This subject is very dear to me for in September 17th 2012; I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I opted to have a bilateral mastectomy October 17th, 2012, right in the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I have been chronologically documenting my experience with much conviction and humor. I want to share my experience and be able to give my hand to those who need support. I am calling my documented experience, “My Colors of Cancer”, which I hope to have published. I have also started a blog. I want to offer people a place where they can stop by and express their feelings. 7 surgeries and 22 months later I also became a member of a poetry group called, “Full Circle Ensemble.” This is alone time with my mind to take my emotions to the next level of writing. We will be performing at the National Black Theatre of Harlem in January 2015’ From the Page to the Stage.
My piece is about Breast Cancer. I have taken to photograph my own experience with Breast Cancer and write poetry about the experience and making an art piece for sale. My motto and obligation to the community is to always give back. I was in dire need while I was going through my adversity with the Big C. In those months it was Art and Music that kept me from going into a grey state of depression. It was Art and Music that saved me. My art and writing displays my feelings from a day-to-day basis of never giving up. I feel blessed that I had the courage and strength to fight my battles and feel obliged to give my hand to those that may find themselves in my shoes. Last but not least, I am honored to have been able to share my experience and art with you.