Initiative "Atelier Gaza"

“Atelier Gaza” Gallery and Exhibition Center Initiative

Palestine Committee Stuttgart supports this project and is going to collect donations so it can be realized. We will introduce a possibility for payments through PayPal and an extra bank account.

Here is a description by the artists themselves.

We are a group of visual artists residing in the Gaza Strip, and we carry out various volunteer artistic initiatives to help alleviate the current conditions in which our society lives. We intend to provide our society fine art that would rejuvenate their hope for life especially after the dire conditions in which we have been living after the 2014 war. The war has directly and tremendously impacted all the people of Gaza, especially children, women, and the elderly. It has left them with scenes of death of their loved ones and destruction of their houses, and no hope for a better life. The Gaza Strip has become a giant mass of smoke and rubble and the color grey has dominated the landscape. A general atmosphere of sorrow and despair has taken over and the idea of immigrating to Europe and the US has become extremely popular, especially amongst youth. Immigration now seems like the only way out of the misery and the key to a good life. We disagree. We, as Palestinians, believe we have a homeland, so why live as refugees in another country forever? From this point, we, as artists, decided to take a part in changing this situation using out talents and our brushes. We went out to make a change and spark hope in people’s lives. We went out to add colors to the grey scenes of destruction surrounding us. We went out to rebuild a new Gaza, a colorful one.

Left: Seepor of Gaza after having been painted by 30 artists
Right: Work by Maysa’ Yusuf

As a continuation of our voluntary initiative, and after the great success that we enjoyed during it, we decided to go out again and add colors to another place in Gaza. Our main goal this time was to interact more with the citizens and get them involved in the project more. We chose a neighborhood that is considered one of the poorest and most densely populated refugee camps in the Strip (Al Shati’). Residents of this camp are families who were forced out of their homes in 1948 and we sent to the Gaza Strip. This new initiative was called “Gaza Ahla” (Prettier Gaza). This time, however, we received funding for tools and materials. Twenty volunteering artists took to the streets and allies of this camp, after taking permission from the residents, and started painting and restoring the houses. Our work entailed repairing broken doors and windows, and collecting old car tires to be painted and use for decoration and as flower pots. We were surprised by the overwhelming support and participation by residents of the camp. People of all ages and genders volunteered and together we managed to add color a previously grey and gloomy refugee camp. There was a general atmosphere of happiness while everybody was helping to color and decorate their neighborhood, even if it only lasted a few days. Children especially enjoyed the experience.

As female artists in Gaza we aim to paint pictures that speak for us and present our message to the world. Each artist enjoys total freedom in the way she chooses to express her opinion and feelings especially that our freedom of traveling and seeing the world is restricted. Despite our feeling of living in a tightening prison that prevents us from interacting with the outside world and puts us down, we try to use our brushes to express our thoughts and feelings. We feel that our brushes are the only things that give us hope and grant us freedom, even if only in our imaginations. Thus, we as female artists need a studio that brings us together and provides us with a place to present our art, so that the whole world can see it...

Full description of the project PDF

More information will follow.