Judi and Irit: A Blossoming Friendship

 How did you become involved with Twist Out Cancer (TOC) and specifically, Brushes with Cancer? Can you tell us about any special meaning that your participation has held for you?

Judi:  If I remember correctly, I happened to see a post about it in a Facebook cancer group online but I don’t remember which one. To me, the idea that an artist will create something inspired by me and what I’d been through is so overwhelming and such a privilege. To share this journey with others is truly incredible.

Irit: For the last few years I have been looking for an organization to volunteer with. When I heard about Brushes with Cancer, I was immediately drawn to this special effort. I lost my young niece, Lital, to cancer a few years ago.  I am a true believer in emotional and spiritual therapy through art; working with Judi was a very meaningful experience for me.

Getting to know Judi was very impactful for me. She is a real fighter.  I admire Judi. Judi and I discovered that we both love and are fascinated by the ancient worlds, and especially ancient Egypt. As an artist I’ve been exploring Egyptian influences on my art, especially in the last two years. I read Judi final work for her B.A. ,which dealt with death in ancient Egypt. We discussed life in Egyptian times and the way they handled death, we had long and meaningful conversations about this.

What were you hoping to give and/or receive from the program?

Judi: I was hoping to share my experience, to grow, learn and heal. I was hoping to meet and learn from other survivors. The feeling that I am not alone is healing and inspiring.

Irit: Mostly I hoped to give Judi a lot of attention, to hug her and feel her in my heart. I wanted to see how our meetings and conversations have influenced my narrative art in lines, colors shapes and forms. I am excited to see my relationship with Judi has led both of us on a special adventure.

What most surprised you about your experience in the program?

Judi: I guess I was surprised by the immediate connection I felt with Irit. I felt so comfortable with her right away. And I knew I could trust her to create something real and true.

Irit: The most surprising thing was that through this work I felt emotional difficulties and I was surrounded by images that I really wanted to ignore. All of a sudden, I realized that the work I did during this period (scratching, etching and engraving on cork and wood) described the topic and was accompanied by ancient symbols from Egypt’s life. This work is dedicated to Judi and will be given to her, as a present and I’ll donate another piece of work to Brushes With Cancer that I made during this time. Judi was a strong inspiration for both works.

What are you most looking forward to at the big event?

Judi: I am really looking forward to seeing what all the artists have created. We all have different stories and it’s going to be amazing to see what each artist created on this journey.

Irit: My expectation is that this piece of art will be sold for a high price which will increase my donation to the organization.

What advice would you give prospective participants who are interested in getting involved?

Judi: I would say to future participants to feel free and honest with yourself. Believe that this journey can heal, inspire and give strength to keep being strong and proud of yourself.

Irit: The advice that I would give to prospective participants is to allow themselves the adventure of giving to others. The opening themselves up and the “give and get” processing can add a lot to their personal development.

 

 

Judi Hetzroni

Irit Bahalul

 Tickets are now on sale for Brushes with Cancer Tel Aviv. To learn information on the program and upcoming art exhibition and celebratory event, please check out our event website for fufther details.

Meet Judy and Nir- An Unexpected Friendship

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?

Nir

“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.”

Judy

“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?

Nir

“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.”

Judy

“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?

Nir

“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.”

Judy

“I was most nervous about my ability to do justice to this amazing woman and her story.”

What are you most looking forward to?

Nir

“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.”

Judy

“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?

Nir

“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.”

Judy

“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.