Malak Matar is a 20 year old woman artist from the Gaza Strip, Palestine who is currently attending Istanbul Aydin University in Istanbul, Turkey. She first started painting at age 13, during the 51-day Israeli military assault on Gaza in 2014. Forced to stay inside for her own safety, she felt a compelling need to release all of her negative energy—fear, anxiety, and sheer terror. In the first two years, Matar produced over 200 paintings. While developing her artistic talent, Malak Matar has also excelled academically, achieving the highest grade point average in the Gaza Strip in 2017, her senior year of high school, and the second-highest grade point average in all of Palestine that same year. Unable to leave Gaza due to restrictions of the Israeli occupation, Malak showed her paintings to the world via social media, on Instagram and Facebook. On her fourteenth birthday, she began offering her paintings for sale in local exhibits. Using social media, she also began selling and mailing paintings to buyers around the world. Within two years, she became financially independent. With a growing following on Instagram (over 16,000 people!) Matar’s artwork quickly began to garner interest from galleries beyond Palestine; her first international exhibition was in Bristol, UK, in 2017. Since then, her artwork has been featured in individual and group exhibitions in Jerusalem, France, Spain, Costa Rica, India, and in the Art Under Siege exhibit held in the Rayburn House Office Building, US House of Representatives, Washington, DC. This is one of Malak’s last talks on the current speaking tour. In the past three weeks she spoke on 8 college campuses, including Merrimack, Smith, Yale, Southern Connecticut State, Manhattan College, and Drew University and several community events in Washington DC, New York City, Haverhill, and Ipswich.