Fri, 09 Dec 2022

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About 12 Palestinian artists from Gaza on Wednesday took part in a contemporary visual art exhibition to reflect on the bitter reality of local youths in the coastal enclave.

Dubbed "Fenced Off," the two-day exhibition features dozens of paintings, sculptures, and other artworks that speak about the catastrophic impact of the 15-year Israeli blockade on the lives of the local youths.

by Sanaa Kamal

GAZA, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- About 12 Palestinian artists from Gaza on Wednesday took part in a contemporary visual art exhibition to reflect on the bitter reality of local youths in the coastal enclave.

Dubbed "Fenced Off," the two-day exhibition features dozens of paintings, sculptures, and other artworks that speak about the catastrophic impact of the 15-year Israeli blockade on the lives of the local youths, said Suhair Zaqout, spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza, the organizer of the event.

"Unfortunately," Zaqout says, "the lives of young people in Gaza are not normal. Two-thirds of the Gaza youths are not self-reliant and are still dependent on their families and they see their future as bleak."

About 66 percent of Gazan youths believe that they will witness new rounds of military tensions between the Palestinian armed groups and the Israeli army in the coastal enclave, she added.

"In fact, we (ICRC) are trying as much as possible to help the Palestinians overcome the consequences of the illegal Israeli blockade, but at the same time we believe that these attempts are not enough and that Gaza needs political solutions," Zaqout said.

After Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, Israel imposed a tight siege on the Strip and launched four large-scale military operations against the coastal enclave.

The successive years of the blockade pushed Gaza's unemployment rate to about 50 percent, and about 83 percent of its population live below the poverty line, according to a report issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2021.

"Simply put, this situation casts a dark shadow on the economic, political, social and living reality in Gaza," Assaf al-Kharti, a Gaza-based artist, who is participating in the event, told Xinhua.

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Standing beside his work, the 29-year-old artist said that he created his sculpture from recycled scrap to deliver a message that the Gazan youths need to "recycle" all their lives.

"I called my sculpture the Stuck Dreams as we (young people) are stuck among the unprecedented situation in the coastal enclave ... we feel that everything in our life has stopped except our ages," he explained.

"As soon as the Israeli blockade ends, we need to recycle, or rearrange our lives, hopes and dreams in order to be eligible to live in a better way," the artists stressed.

Not far away from al-Kharti, Mustafa Muhanna, another Gaza-based artist, stands beside his anthropomorphic figure of a young man sitting in a chair, waiting.

The 28-year-old artist called his figure "Waiting Without Aim." He said that his waiting man sculpture implied that the Gazans are in a long waiting process, but without a goal.

"It is very unfortunate that we Gazans have turned to mere numbers without having clear dreams or plans to build our future," he complained.

Both al-Kharti and Muhanna think that Israel and Palestinian politicians should bear the responsibility for the dire situation in Gaza, as they do not have a real decision to find political solutions that would help Gazans restore peace and security in their lives once again.

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