Born in Nablus in 1925, Afaf Arafat was educated at the Al-Fatimiya and Al-‘A’ishiya Schools. She then attended the Teacher's Institute in Jerusalem from 1938 to 1943 and later worked as a teacher in Jerusalem. She then enrolled at the Bath Academy in Britain and studied painting, photography and ceramics until graduating in 1957.
Arafat returned to Palestine and worked as a teacher of Fine Arts at the Teacher's Institute in Ramallah from 1957-64. She continued her studies and received a Master's in Art from Tennessee University (USA) in 1966. She then became an inspector for Art Education for the Jordanian Ministry of Education. From 1966-1979, she was a member of a committee that prepared art education guides for teachers.
Afaf Arafat worked with the UNRWA as an art expert from 1979-81 and prepared the art education books for Al-Yarmouk University in Jordan in 1981. She was also Jordan's delegate to the Amsterdam Conference for Fine Arts in 1969 and the UNESCO regional conference for fine art education in 1976.
She has organized a number of exhibits in Jerusalem, Amman, and Nablus, and received medals from the Kuwaiti government and the Jordanian League of Artists. She paints with watercolors and oil paints, in addition to making collage art.