Nir and Judy might never have crossed paths had they not been paired through Brushes with Cancer, and yet as soon as the connection was made, a journey of friendship and openness began. Nir, an extraordinary young Israeli dancer, happened to cross paths with Alona, the chair of Brushes with Cancer in Tel Aviv, and was immediately convinced that this was the platform for sharing her story.
Judy, a talented artist, heard about the program through conversation with her daughter, who has worked with Twist out Cancer in the past. And so, two separate paths converged and the bond of Artist and Inspiration was formed. Judy and Nir both agreed to offer a small taste of their journey prior to the unveiling of the final art piece at Brushes With Cancer in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, March 13. We are so grateful to be able to share this amazing story of their experiences with Brushes With Cancer.
How did you feel compelled to participate in the program? What motivated you to be part of this journey?
“Being a dance and a performance artist and having my body and soul go through so much in the past four years, as a result of being diagnosed and treated for cancer three times, I felt so inspired to enter this process and this story as a material for an art piece. For me, dealing with breast cancer and all the body-mind-spirit alterations that goes along with, made me feel as if my very being, my body, my mind, my identity and personality are all some kind of material that keeps changing, being designed, played with, altered, danced with by outside and inside forces. It made me feel like myself and my life are fluid and flexible as if it was some kind of material or art piece that is in an unending creation process that is comprised of the ongoing interaction and synthesis between constantly changing me and constantly changing and unexpected circumstances. For these reasons I had a growing need to bring forth the intensity of this experience and the different views on life, on myself and my relationship with the world that resulted from this, and try to communicate to other people, to another artist and to myself- through art.”
“I felt compelled to participate in the program as I feel its goals are so important. I have done art programs with cancer patients in the past, and have a number of friends who have had cancer. The goal of building a personal connection with someone was appealing to me.”
What has the storytelling process been like for you so far? What has been your creative process been like?
“It’s been more like a mutual sharing process. We share our stories, we get to know each other. It’s become very quickly much more about the human connection and bond between us than anything else. But still, telling the story keeps revealing it to me in new ways, it’s like re-learning it, understanding and seeing it in even more new ways and in new light.”
“Initially the connecting process was quite difficult as Nir was still going through treatment. However after our first meeting I knew that I had met a truly unique and inspiring person who I wanted to get to know. My creative process is difficult to describe. I am constantly thinking about this project and wondering how to translate all of this into a meaningful piece of art. My making sketches, painting fabric and trying out different ideas. My medium is textiles, which is a bit more challenging. I also prefer abstract rather than realistic art, which makes the artwork more difficult for a viewer to understand.”
What were you most nervous about regarding the process?
“I was nervous about what would happen if we didn’t click, or that maybe my experiences and views will be too much to take in, or that there will be some taboos, or that we will have an extremely different artistic taste. Also about letting go of my story (or the story of our meeting) to become a piece of art in someone else’s hands that I have no direct influence on.”
“I was most nervous about my ability to do justice to this amazing woman and her story.”
What are you most looking forward to?
“Of course to see the final artwork! But also to be a part of the first event in Israel. To be in the company of all the wonderful people that shared their time, stories, and their art in order to make this project happen. I look forward to sharing the artwork and the experience with my family and friends and whoever else will come to see or hear about the project. Also to continue to be in touch with Judy outside the boundaries of the project and to continue to share experiences together.”
“I am looking forward to my continuing relationship with Nir. I feel that we have a lot to learn from each other, and we just have a good time being together.”
Is there anything else you would like to share/pass on?
“I would like to share that I think Brushes with Cancer is an extremely important project because it takes the story of dealing with cancer – all its pain, fear, confusion, beauty, complexity, and life changing experiences – and makes it into soil, into fertile ground, into the very seeds of a new creation in the world. I think that there is no better and healing way to experience ourselves and the meaning of our experiences than by sharing them.”
“However the final art piece turns out, I feel honored to be part of this unique process. It is a project I would like to continue participating in.” This connection, and the others made through Brushes With Cancer, is what this project is all about. The ability to form unexpected connections, unbreakable bonds, and unparalleled platforms to share powerful experiences.
For more information on Brushes with Cancer Tel Aviv please check out our website. The first annual art exhibition and gala will take place on Tuesday, March 13th at Beit Andromeda in Jaffa, Israel.
This interview was written by Jacquie Zaluda, freelance writer and Brushes with Cancer Tel Aviv Host Committee Member. Check out Jacquie’s website to read more about her and her work.