Sylvia Kouveli is a portrait and documentary photographer with a fascination for visual sociology. She works on projects that build awareness and enhance inclusion in a social ambience and through collaborative social action.
She’s also the creator of “#bOObs”, a social health initiative that breaks taboos and aims to educate young women about the risks of breast cancer.
“When I moved back to Greece in 2015, I started to realize that there are still many taboos around the female body and worst of all, some of them are costing us our lives.”
Sylvia identified a gap in breast cancer awareness campaigns that left most young women oblivious about their potential risk of breast cancer and the actions they should be taking towards early detection. With an on-going series of empowering photo sessions and through social media, she is filling that gap, one photo at a time.
“Many Greek women are afraid to talk about their boobs, let alone look at them and touch them in order to detect any changes. At the same time, women who have had breast cancer, instead of passing on their knowledge and experience, prefer to not talk about it at all and use euphemisms like “the bad illness” to refer to their survival journey. We choose to be deaf, mute and blind when it comes to our health, while we have the tools to potentially save our own lives with early detection.”
In 2018, the photos of the “#bOObs” initiative were exhibited in Athens, where visitors were invited to look at the diversity of the female chest, without shame or inhibitions, but rather with a curiosity and acceptance towards the unlimited heterogeneity. Information on breast screening and reconstruction was provided in leaflets, complemented by a live talk by a breast surgeon.
Following collaborations with other artists and poets in Spain and the United States, Sylvia is presenting her eye-opening work in an exhibition in Los Angeles, with the support of the American Cancer Society, in October 2019.
(To participate or to find out more, follow “#bOObs” on Instagram.)