Teen paints mural on Cancer Society building

The Cancer Society’s Victoria Gray stands by the painting which was done by 16-year-old Isabela Watler. - Photo: Jewel Levy

Sixteen-year-old Isabela Watler has transformed a wall at the Cancer Society building in George Town into a colourful work of art to give people diagnosed with cancer something pretty to look at.

The painting depicts a Cayman scene, featuring underwater marine life, a water fountain and garden, which Isabela said she created as a tribute in memory of her late grandmother Jackie Watler who had cancer.

“It’s a beautiful mural and a beautiful intention,” said Jennifer Weber, operations managers at the Cancer Society.

The painting is on the wall that faces the entrance to the Cayman Islands Hospital.

“Sometimes, when a cancer patient gets diagnosed at the Cayman Islands Hospital, they immediately come to the Cancer Society. Some- times, they just don’t know what else to do or where to go. When they come through the gate from the hospital, the first thing they will see is this beautiful mural on the wall,” Weber said.

“Everyone who has seen it says it’s such a pretty painting. We hope it brings a little encouragement and smile to everybody’s face,” she added.

According to Weber, Isabela’s grandmother was one of the first patients to receive chemotherapy in the cancer therapy unit at Cayman Islands Hospital back in 2014 when it was first opened.

She did not want to receive her treatment overseas, but wanted to be at home on Grand Cayman with the people she loved.

The painting, spanning all of the outside wall, shows two smiling elves wearing pointed green hats and green shirts, standing in water soaking their feet.

A bird sits on a branch on which hangs colourful containers of flowers. An octopus, crab, turtle and dozens of colourful coral sponges complete the artwork.

Watler, a Grade 11 student at Cayman International School, said she used regular house paint to complete the scenery.

“The painting’s message is to give hope and put people’s minds at ease who are victims of cancer,” she said.

She said the reason she chose that scenery was be- cause of her love of water and the ocean, but also because her grandmother had an amazing greenhouse with a water fountain with little gnomes in the garden that they all loved to visit.

Isabela’s grandmother was Caymanian to the core and loved the sea, flowers, the trees and culture of her people and it was through that medium, Isabela said, that she also found her inspiration.

She hopes people find some sort of peace when they see the painting.

“For me, it was kind of emotional seeing what my grandmother had to go through,” she said.

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