In 2012, Rahmaan Hameed was 20 and close to graduating from the University of Alberta with a bachelor’s degree in psychology when doctors found a tumour in his father’s brain. His dad, Badar Hameed, lived for 18 more months, and the grace he carried through his cancer journey left a lifelong impression on Rahmaan. Badar’s commitment to his family and his work inspired Rahmaan to pursue his passion for art.
Today, Rahmaan splits his time as a personal banker and successful artist. Recently, he created a piece called Chadwick Forever. The painting depicts actor Chadwick Boseman in costume as Marvel superhero Black Panther, the name of the film in which he starred. Boseman passed away from cancer in 2020, but his resilience in the face of the disease reminded Rahmaan of his dad.
Chadwick Forever sold for $3,500 within minutes of being posted on Rahmaan’s website. He donated half of those proceeds to the Alberta Cancer Foundation in support of the Cross Cancer Institute, where Badar received treatment.
Here, Rahmaan reflects on his father’s cancer journey and what inspires his art.
In his words:
“It was in late 2011 or early 2012 when [my father] was first diagnosed. That day was the first-ever experience with any kind of tumour or cancer type for our immediate family. Somehow, someway, it propagated and became lung cancer. He was told he only had six months, but he pulled out a year and a half. The treatment he received at the Cross Cancer Institute was absolutely incredible. It was a very supportive environment, and that’s all you can hope for.
“With my dad, if you met him on the street you wouldn’t be able to tell he had cancer. He kept his weight, he was still eating and doing whatever he wanted to. He had more energy than our entire family combined. He kept telling us: ‘I’m going to live my life the way I’m going to live it.’ And that’s exactly what he did — he worked until his very last day.
“I thought ‘If he can do this, if he can fight this and still be himself, with honour and nobility, then I can do that with anything.’ That’s what really pushed me to focus on my art.
“When I heard that Chadwick Boseman died of cancer, I thought, ‘Really? Was it stage 4? What kind of cancer did he have?’ He had just done Black Panther, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: End Game — [was it] all while battling cancer? As soon as I read the story, I’m like, ‘This reminds me exactly of my dad.’ The day I found out that he passed away, I thought, ‘I have to do a painting.’
“I had no idea where the painting was going, but it all came together perfectly. The chaos in the background didn’t take away from the beauty of the foreground. Similarly, the chaos of cancer didn’t take away from the beauty of his craft or what he was able to give to his fans. I realized that I had to do something meaningful with it. I read more about his story and how he lived his life, and I was like, ‘That’s exactly how my dad did it.’ I decided to donate half the proceeds to the Cross because of everything they did for my dad. It just felt right.”
Prints of Chadwick Forever continue to be sold in support of the Cross Cancer Institute, and you can find them at rahmaanhameedstudios.com