Using art to heal: Battling cancer in Gaza

One Palestinian female artist's battle with cancer in Gaza.

| Gaza, Palestine, Arts & Culture, Human Rights, War & Conflict

Gaza - Aya Abdulrahman was informed by her doctors that she would be dead by the end of 2014.

At 21, she had seven malignant tumours.

"Your daughter has two months left to live. You cannot do anything. Go home," the doctor told Abdulrahman's mother.

The painful news, however, did not stop her from pursuing her dreams. Since childhood, all Abdulrahman wanted to do was become an artist and leave her mark on the world through art.

Abdulrahman seized every opportunity that came her way to display her paintings and drawings across the Gaza Strip and abroad, from Los Angeles to Morocco. She participated in art competitions, worked with sick and disabled children in Gaza to have them express themselves through art, and trained youth in drama and acting.

After undergoing a series of surgeries over a three-year span, the locally renowned artist recovered in 2015.

She narrated the journey of her agony and accomplishments in the first TEDx talk in Gaza that year. "The most important thing to me is to bring happiness into people's lives," she said during her talk, describing the day she was informed of her recovery as "the best day of her life".

"I adore seeing a smile on people's faces," she continued, adding that her artwork enabled her to do that.

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