Ana Maria Arevao Gosen (VE) "The meaning of life" - Helphoto 2020




The Meaning of Life
“I was shocked when the doctor, after a one minute check up, told me the news. Emptiness invaded my body. Not only did I have a rare type of cancer, but it had been inhabiting my right testicle for more than a year. A year? Less than a year ago I was getting married. Suddenly, my thoughts were spinning: Will I die soon? What will happen to my dreams? I ran home to my wife, she held me and said we were too young to face this. The world ended, but we stayed strong together. Our love made us feel sure that this fight can be fought together. A surgery to remove the malicious tumor was scheduled for three days after I received the news. Instead of Chemotherapy, I opted to have regular medical check ups. Seven months later, which was around Christmas time, my blood values had sky rocked again and the emptiness came back. The dormant cancer woke up. It metastasized in the lymph nodes in my stomach and chemotherapy was the only option to survive. The night before the first treatment, my wife shaved my hair, a symbol of change. The next day I had a strange element implanted in my chest, a gate for the chemotherapy to access my veins directly in order to kill every fast growing cell, good or bad. From that day on my goals changed: To heal my soul, to be a whole person again, and to rebuild my home from the ashes that cancer left and myself. I did all those things, but it never really leaves you; I will always be a cancer survivor. The looping cycle of check-ups never ends and the person I am now will never be the same. How does one’s identity transform when our body is put under scrutiny and jeopardized? How does a young man survive and move forward? Trust being the most important value to answer this question: Trust your family and loved ones, trust the process, trust the body and technology.” Ana María Arévalo Gosen

Ana María Arévalo Gosen (Caracas, 1988) is a fighter for women’s rights and her weapon is visual storytelling. Mixing rigorous research with intimate stories, she wants to make a positive impact through her projects. Because of the crisis in Venezuela Ana moved to Toulouse in 2009. She studied Political science (IEP) and photography (ETPA). In 2014 Ana moved to Hamburg and since then she has been working as a freelance photographer. In 2016-2017 she produced her most challenging work. The Meaning of Life is the intimate story of her husband’s fight against testicular cancer. Today they use it to raise awareness about this disease. Each year the exhibition raises funds for male cancer research. Her roots called her in 2017, when she returned to Venezuela, the place of her source of inspiration. Here, the artist created her first long-term project Dias eternos in which she reflected on the conditions of women in preventive detention centers and prisons in the country. This work was awarded the Lucas Dolega prize in 2020 and was done with the support of Women Photograph (2018) and Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Travel Grant (2018). It won the first place of the POY Latam in the category, The Strength of Women. Ana wants to carry on this project in the rest of Latin America. She is currently based between Bilbao and Caracas.

Ana Maria Arevao Gosen (VE) "The meaning of life" - Helphoto 2020
Ana Maria Arevao Gosen (VE) "The meaning of life" - Helphoto 2020