The Healing Power of Art
After experiencing a traumatic brain injury, Rakan Isbury finds healing in creativity and art.
Former Shepherd Center Patient
My name is Rakan Isbury. I’m originally from Saudi Arabia and came to the United States in 2015 to attend college. I studied art at SCAD in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ever since I was little, I’ve loved the arts and found great joy in my own creative process. In both painting and drawing, the arts have been an escape for me, a way to express what’s in my heart, and to understand and reflect on the world around me.
In 2017, I experienced a near-death accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury (TBI), changing the course of the rest of my life. I spent two months at the hospital in critical care, then moved to Shepherd Center, then to Restore Neurobehavioral Center and finally, as my brain and my body healed, I was able to return home. My rehabilitation became my full-time job.
After my injury, my mom brought paint and canvases to the hospital, hoping we would paint together. Due to my injury, I wasn’t able to paint at first, but I took classes to help me regain my hobby. As my brain and body healed, I became more and more confident in my innate abilities as an artist. It’s funny how you can forget almost everything about yourself and your own life, but the instinctual, innate ability to be creative persisted.
Even though I still struggle with my memory, art is – and will always be – my passion. Not only has it been an outlet to express my feelings and thoughts, but it’s also become an important part of my healing process.
In the future, as my brain and body continue to heal, I hope to return to school and finish my education. I am so grateful to art for its power to transform, transcend and heal, and I know that the creative process will continue to inspire and enrich my life.
You can view more of Rakan's art here.
Follow Rakan’s story on his mother’s Instagram: @majdamajoda
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 935 inpatients, 541 day program patients and more than 7,300 outpatients each year.