Elisheva Rose Khalfin Elbaz

Artist’s Statement

I experienced perplexing symptoms since I was a young child. But during a period in my late twenties and early thirties I was very sick. The illness defied a beginning, middle or end, and in that way it didn’t make sense. I struggled to find a narrative, to understand what was wrong with me. Like the search for love in the children’s book Are You My Mother? I searched for a beginning, a reason, a cause. I was trying to answer the question, Why am I sick? Inside this question was, Can I live? To answer these questions, and to heal, I had to surrender to the loss of form. Susan Sontag wrote, “Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.” In the nightside, in the kingdom of the sick, I embraced field notes, short poems and prose, photographs in the IV clinic, art making in ways that mirrored my physiology, and in this way my body became legible and I found a story. 

Elisheva (@levantloudmouth) is a writer, facilitator and community health worker focused on intergenerational and developmental trauma, and a nursing student. They hold a MS in Narrative Medicine, and have published poems and visual art in Oyster River PagesThe IntimaMER Journal, and Matter Press.