Gabriela Vidal discovered the foundation Donde Quiero Estar on Facebook - she started to follow the page in 2010 because she was interested in art and in social organizations with volunteer opportunities. She had been following the organization for six months when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2010. At the end of the year she underwent surgery to remove the cancer, and soon after she started chemotherapy.
Up until this moment she had not had direct contact with the foundation, having only sent a few private messages to Vicky, the director. At that time, Donde Quiero Estar only had programs for oncology patients in public hospitals while they received their treatment; they did not yet have their own office. Because Gabi attended a private hospital for her treatments, she could not participate in the programs of the foundation, but she continued to follow them on Facebook.
Last year, after discovering that the cancer had metastasized and compromised her entire pelvis, a friend suggested that Gabi should join one of the art programs in the office that the foundation had just installed that past year. Gabi spoke with María de San Martín, the art director, and began to come to the art workshops at the office. Gabi had already been painting in her spare time, but art and the purpose of art changed for her when she started attending classes at Donde Quiero Estar. Now she comes not just to paint, but to be with other people who have had similar experiences, who have also gone through this illness, and who now use it to create something new. While Gabi receives her chemotherapy in her private room at the hospital, she watches television or talks with friends, but she always imagines the rooms of the hospitals in which Donde Quiero Estar has programs, and how those communities help you to escape the room and your treatment. They help you get to where you want to be.
Gabi has always enjoyed painting, however since she found Donde Quiero Estar, the function of painting has changed. Now painting is more like a release for her thoughts and feelings that are not easily verbalized. Gabi notes how at Donde Quiero Estar, when someone paints, their subconscious takes control of the canvas, and the final piece reflects the reality of their emotions.
A few of Gabi's pieces