Hope canvas’ uses art as therapy, raises funds for wigs for patients

A group art exhibition titled the “Hope Canvas” featuring over 400 painting opened on Monday at Ras Al Ain Gallery in Amman.

The works displayed in the exhibition are the products of the “Hope Canvas” week, which was held in Aqaba in November by the Hareer initiative, according to its founder Nihad Dabbas.

“It all started as an attempt to realise one cancer patient’s dream of painting on the beach,” Dabbas told The Jordan Times.

The idea then grew into a 225-metre canvas painted by 890 children, including cancer patients, refugees, and school children from the local community, he said. 

“The ‘Hope Canvas’ was then carefully cut into over 400 paintings, which are currently displayed in the exhibition,” Dabbas added. 

He noted that Hareer uses art as therapy, creating an open creative space for children to express themselves.

The initiative also allows children to have an active role in supporting the “Hope Wig” through their creations, Dabbas said, noting that the exhibition’s revenue will contribute in the making of natural wigs for cancer patients, children with alopecia and burn victims.

“We try to make sure that the children know why they’re doing this and what it will contribute to. This makes them feel productive and revives their confidence,” he added. 

The exhibition also features a number of easels with empty canvases for visitors to create their own paintings, which will then be displayed in the exhibition.

Waed Al Atrash, the mother of five year-old cancer patient, Malak, told The Jordan Times: “Because she’s very young, she doesn’t exactly know why she’s doing this or how her painting will help, but the feeling of achievement she gets has greatly lifted her spirits and renewed her confidence”.

Malak, who’s set to receive a wig from Hareer, has had a hard time feeling at place in school due to the changes in her appearance after chemotherapy, according to her mother. 

“I hope that this initiative will also contribute to raising the awareness of school children,” Atrash said.

The Hareer initiative was launched in 2017 and mainly works on providing “free of charge natural wigs” along with emotional and psychological support for children with cancer, according to its website.

Hareer has so far donated over 350 wigs, carefully made by volunteers in a small workshop, said Dabbas. 

“We’re hoping to expand the workshop in the future and train more volunteers to contribute in the making process,” he added, noting that the process of making one wig is very costly and can take up to 120 days of work

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