Though Alaa lost her right leg to a severe bone infection and her hair to bouts of chemotherapy, the brave teen wearing a Harley Davidson scarf still dreams of riding a motorcycle across Lebanon and feeling the wind blow through her hair. When the art collective “I Leaf Art” visited her on her final round of chemotherapy, she was eagerly waiting for Eid and the time she would spend with her family.
I Leaf Art specializes in using art to transform dark and neglected spaces, and helping marginalized children and teens to bring their inner selves to light in brilliant color. On July 26, its team of art activists reached out to children battling cancer at the Pediatric Oncology department of the Beirut Governmental Hospital. On this “art day”, they also played guitar for Hamoudi, a little boy whose laughter fills the cancer ward where he too is a resident. He painted his own mask and after instructing the visiting artists exactly how to behave around kids with cancer like a tiny professor—“don’t touch that, wear gloves!”—he let them play with his new toy and mimed eating an elaborate, imaginary seafood banquet.
Perhaps most poignantly of all, they watched as four-year-old Suzan drew herself as a bright red butterfly with wide open wings. Doctors have told her parents that after two years of struggle, there is no hope of her recovering. But she smiled for the camera, a smile that says, as “leafer” Mariam put it, “I will never surrender, see you soon.”
For more information: I leaf art on Facebook