October 4, 2016
Malala, as many of you know, is the young Pakistani student who was shot in the head by the Taliban because she demanded an education for all girls, which was outlawed in her country. She recovered and has become a mentor and hero to thousands of girls across all cultures. At 18, she spoke before the UN General Assembly, and at 19 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She now runs a foundation that builds girls' schools and gathers school supplies for the grateful students in areas that saw their schools destroyed or had none to begin with. She speaks before large audiences, travels worldwide, and is presently living in England. I painted Malala during chemo for colon cancer, and discovered that in thinking about her life, I gathered strength from my own fear. She is "Saint Malala" to me. An archival print of the original is hanging in the infusion room at the Summit Medical Group in Berkeley Heights, NJ to inspire the patients and devoted oncology nurses who take such good care of us all.