The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, August 22, 2019


Colourful war of words plays out on Gaza's battered walls
A Palestinian man walks past graffiti showing a masked protester throwing a flower bouquet, on November 21, 2014, in Gaza City. For youth in the Gaza Strip packed with 1.8 million people, graffiti is an important tool for self-expression and fighting back. AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMMED ABED.

By: Adel Zaanoun


GAZA CITY (AFP).- Everywhere you turn, walls in the Gaza Strip are covered with paint -- brightly coloured slogans, political portraits and prose.

For youth in the besieged enclave packed with 1.8 million people, graffiti is an important tool for self-expression and fighting back.

Since their birth, they have never known anything beyond this tiny strip of land wedged between Egypt and Israel, with the Mediterranean Sea to their backs. 

In the south, the walls rail against Egypt's closure of the Rafah border crossing.

In the north, they condemn the Israeli soldiers who prevent them from crossing through Erez.

There is that pervading sense of being trapped, of powerlessness in the face of Israeli bombardments, the never-ending progression of funerals, the humiliation and the oppression.

All these things find expression in the gaudy slogans daubed on walls and in alleyways across the territory. 

"In painting these walls, I feel free," says Naim Samsum, a bearded 25-year-old wearing a black beanie hat, white jeans and a Superman T-shirt.

"What we want is to send a message to say that people here love life, that they have had enough of death and destruction," says Samsum, who draws his inspiration from online videos of graffiti "tags" on the side of train cars in Europe. A tag is a graffiti artist's signature.

As with many other art forms in Gaza, politics is never far off. 

On one wall are giant portraits of some of the best-known Palestinians. 

There is one depicting iconic Yasser Arafat, who founded the Fatah movement and died in mysterious circumstances in 2004. Next to him is a likeness of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder of the rival Hamas movement, who was assassinated by Israel the same year. 

Tensions in Gaza between the two nationalist movements erupted into bloodshed in 2007, with Hamas forcing Fatah loyalists out and seizing power. There followed a bitter seven-year split that was patched up earlier this year through a unity deal. 

Underneath the two portraits, in large letters, is written "Yes to national reconciliation." 

A little further away, another artist has drawn a picture of an M75, a Gaza-made rocket with a range of about 80 kilometres (50 miles) that was fired at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv during this past summer's 50-day war with Israel.

Cheap, easy and effective 
Since 1987, when the first Palestinian uprising began, Gaza's walls have been covered with political messages, calls to strike and details of upcoming demonstrations. Back then, militants would even use the walls to chronicle the dates of Israeli air strikes and the names of the victims, or "martyrs."

Using spray paint as a political tool is not new in Gaza, says Fayez al-Sarsawi, who both paint and sculpts. 

"Graffiti is a form of art which doesn't cost much and lets you reach people easily," he says. 

And Basel al-Maqusi, who runs an art gallery in an upscale area of Gaza City, says it is also a relatively safe way of getting your message across. 

"Writing on the wall is the simplest way to reach people, without putting yourself in too much danger. Handing out pamphlets requires a lot of time and could cost you your life, while writing something on a wall stays for a long time and it can be seen by everyone."

Unlike the earliest, hastily scrawled graffiti, vibrant frescoes that catch the attention of admiring passersby are now created by young people.

In front of a bombed-out police station that was hit during the summer war, a wall is covered with a picture of a child with his fist raised, under which is written "Freedom."

For Musab Abu Daff, freedom is the very essence of graffiti.

"I learned to do graffiti because it's a form of freedom. It allows you to express yourself, talk about where you live, especially here in Gaza where everything is destroyed," says this 20-year-old street artist in baggy jeans and a Bob Marley T-shirt. 

"We need to express our feelings."

"The Israelis oppress us, they stop us from travelling and they have besieged Gaza. So I decided to write on the walls of Gaza exactly what is happening to us," he says. 

az/sbh/hmw/al



© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse





Today's News

November 26, 2014

Rare first William Shakespeare edition found in ancient French port town library

Sotheby's to auction military and political leader Oliver Cromwell's coffin plate

Souls Grown Deep Foundation donates 57 works to Metropolitan Museum of Art

'Casablanca' upright piano sold for $3.4 million at frenzied sale at Bonhams in New York

Christie's New York announces 'Masterpieces Of Art Deco: The Marsha Miro Collection'

Christie's announces Hollywood Legends & Music Legends Sale on 16 December

Focus on Vincent Van Gogh, as artist and person, in a completely new presentation in the Van Gogh Museum

Ketterer Kunst's sale of art from the 15th to the 19th centuries has more than 40% new buyers

History of the World in 1,000 Objects? The Penn Museum's collections help tell the story of humankind

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History tells story of 'The Last American Dinosaurs' in new exhibition

Ulster's last 500 years revealed: The making of modern Ulster revealed in new gallery

Tibetan deity friezes, blue chip scroll paintings and archaic vessels lead Gianguan Auctions December 7th sale

In-depth exploration of one of Peter Blake's most iconic portfolios opens at Paul Stolper Gallery

Installation at Tel Aviv Museum of Art presents hundreds of items suspended from the ceiling

Post-Fair Report: Paris Tableau, the celebration of an art fair

Two industrial robots wave enormous black flags in exhibition in Dresden

Strong showing for 30s Generation painter Moralis in Bonhams Greek Sale

Njideka Akunyili Crosby is the 2014 winner of Smithsonian American Art Museum prize

Colourful war of words plays out on Gaza's battered walls

Solo exhibition of works by Joachim Brohm opens at Grimaldi Gavin

Nadia Myre wins the 2014 Sobey Art Award

Tiancheng International Jewellery and Jadeite Auction to take place on 7 December

Put in a bid for Christmas at Bonhams and make dreams come true

Exhibition of work by two of Italy's most acclaimed artists on view at ArtMoorHouse

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Conservation reveals Wellington Collection work was painted by Titian's Workshop

2.- New dinosaur discovered after lying misidentified in university's vaults for over 30 years

3.- Unseen Texas Chainsaw Massacre outtakes and stills sold for a combined $26,880

4.- National gallery reveals conserved Italian altarpiece by Giovanni Martini da Udine

5.- London's Tate Modern evacuated after child falls, teen arrested

6.- Bavarian State Minister of the Arts restitutes nine works of art

7.- Boy thrown from London's Tate Modern is French tourist visiting UK

8.- Child thrown from London gallery has broken spine, legs and arm

9.- £10 million Turner masterpiece may leave British shores

10.- Tourists banned from sitting on Rome's Spanish Steps



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful