The town of Dorrigo, in Australia, wasn’t particularly well-known until recently, when a local cafe owner named Lyn King got an idea to do something special in memory of a deceased friend.
“My friend passed away from breast cancer. It’s ten years, her anniversary, and I wanted to do something to remember her,” says King. “And then as I started talking about it to the locals, we’ve got a lot of breast cancer survivors here in Dorrigo.”
King’s idea was to hang a few bras as a bunting in front of her little business as a way to remember her friend and honor those who have battled breast cancer. It didn’t take long, however, for others in the community to learn of her project and get on board with the idea too.
Now there are bras of every size and color hanging on most of the shops in the area, many of the trees, and even the road signs. Everywhere you look, there’s a colorful and festive tribute to those who have struggled with a difficult disease. The project has prompted tourists to come from miles around, and many women have donated bras to add to the collection.
“We’ve got about 400–500 hanging and probably another 200 to hang up,” says King. “We’re getting them sent from all over the place — Armidale, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.”
A bright pink bra-shaped sign at the entrance of the community warns drivers to “Slow Down, Bras in Town.” And you probably will want to slow down, because this isn’t the sort of sight you see every day.
One thing is for sure; the bra buntings are certainly a conversation starter—and the butt of jokes—for locals and newcomers alike.
“The house prices in Sydney are so expensive,” laughs one woman, “that I thought this is a great place to just nick off with a bra, because I can’t afford to buy one in Sydney.”
But the bras have also gotten people involved in more serious conversations about breast cancer and the importance of self-exams and knowing your body.
“It creates a lot of talk with the children asking their mums why the bras are hanging, so the parents are explaining to the children,” says King. “I think that’s a good thing that they’re aware of what’s happening.”
Of course, along with such an intimate display, there have been some who dislike the idea and have criticized the installation. But on the whole, it’s got the support of almost everyone. Pink ribbons may raise breast cancer awareness well enough, but bras are certainly drawing people’s attention more effectively to this important topic.
The lingerie will remain on display until Sunday, October 28th, 2018, when a large charity auction will be taking place. Until then, Dorrigo invites you to come for a visit, hang a bra somewhere around town, and make a donation to the Breast Cancer Foundation.
Check out the video below to learn more about this intriguing art project and the important message an entire community came together to send.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?