Gaza on Gaza
Friday, 7th August - 22nd August 2015
Gaza on Gaza is an exhibition of work by Palestinian artists in response to the lives devastated by the last year’s conflict. During the military offensive 1,500 Palestinian civillians were killed and over 500,000 were displaced from their homes. Across Gaza, the UN estimates that nearly 400,000 children require some form of mental health support to cope with the events they witnessed or experienced over the summer of 2014. Gaza on Gaza features:
Majdal Nateel’s installation, If I Wasn’t There, inspired by her experiences volunteering with the UN and working with children in their shelters during last year’s conflict. The work consists of 400 drawings imagining the dreams and aspirations of the children who died. Each piece is made from fragments of the paper bags used to deliver limited supplies of cement to families whose homes were bombed. Restrictions on the entry of cement and other materials means that many children who survived the conflict are still without homes. There will be a Q&A with Majdal at the opening event on 6th August“I am dedicating my artistic tools to talk on behalf of the children who lost their voices simply because they were here, or there...If I Wasn’t There is about this: if I hadn't been here, then maybe my mother would now be brushing my hair or making my favorite food, maybe my clothes size would have changed and maybe I wouldn’t be just a statistic broadcast on the news.” Majdal Nateel
Through Young Eyes, a series of drawings by Palestinian teenagers who lived through last year’s conflict and participated in a project run by Christian Aid partner Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA), an organisation which provides therapeutic activities for children and young people. Some of the teenagers draw their own experiences and others depict the stories they heard on the news and from their communities. These drawings are accompanied by a series of images of the devastation by award-winning photographer Heidi Levine.
“My paintings express the rights of Palestinian children to live in an environment that is safe, without conflict and violence. Palestinian children still stand despite the difficulties and destruction surrounding them. CFTA has really helped me by giving me pencils and paints to draw my suffering. I feel when I draw that something in my heart is released.” Lama Shasah, 16
A series of moving image and photographic works from Palestinian artists including The Last Prayer, by self-taught, 22 year-old Gaza Strip-based Palestinian conceptual and fine art photographer, Mahmoud J Alkurd.
Gaza on Gaza is curated by the Gaze on Gaza campaign, Christian Aid and the Palestinian Arts Festival in partnership with P21 Gallery. Throughout the exhibition there will be a programme of talks, events and film screenings exploring the role of art in Palestine’s present and future. These include a screening of the first ever feature filmed in the Gaza Strip, The Tale of the Three Lost Jewels by Michel Khleifi, and a discussion on theatre in Palestine led by Zoe Lafferty and Jonathan Chadwick.
Notes for editors:
Artist Majdal Nateel, 29, is the mother of two young daughters and lives in Gaza City. She gained her BA degree in Fine Arts from Al-Aqsa University and has exhibited her work in solo and group shows in Gaza, Jordan and Europe. Web-links for Majdal:
Gaze on Gaza:
Gaze on Gaza is a voluntary group comprised of artists and creatives who came together in August 2014 to raise mainstream awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza; campaign to end its root causes; and give a platform to artists from Gaza. www.gazeongaza.com
Christian Aid works globally to eradicate the causes of poverty and to achieve equality, dignity and freedom for all. Christian Aid is currently working with more than 20 Israeli and Palestinian organisations to protect human rights, access to services and resources, and to build peace based on justice for all. The Christian Aid Gaza Crisis Appealhas reached over 115,000 people and continues to help tens of thousands more by providing water, food, shelter, agricultural rehabilitation, counselling and healthcare. Christian Aid supports the Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) - a Gaza-based organisation that provides vital support to young people giving them the opportunity to learn, play and grow their talents in as safe a space as can be provided. www.christianaid.org.uk
Palestinian Arts Festival:
Palestinian Arts Festival was set up as an online magazine across social media in 2014 during the Israeli attack on Gaza, and is led by UK-based creatives who have been active in raising the visibility of the plight of Palestinians for many years. The festival aims at the fulfilment and respect of human rights and believes in non-violence. Its starting point is that Palestinians, across the diaspora, have their voices amplified and supported to attain their own identified solution which respects their own rights. www.facebook.com/palestinianartsfestival