Through Young Eyes
During the summer of 2014 hundreds of thousands of children in Gaza experienced destruction, death and displacement, as a 51-day conflict between Israel and Gaza left more than 1,500 civilians dead and 500,000 without homes.
With support from international development organisations such as Christian Aid some of these children have been receiving art therapy, helping them to express their emotions about the conflict and their own experiences.
Christian Aid partner Culture and Free Thought Association gives Palestinian children a safe space in which to express their trauma, using drawing as an outlet. These teenagers have been able to tell their own moving stories, as well as the stories of others, with just their pencils.
Scroll down to see the drawings and to read the artists’ reflections, which are part of a series ‘Through Young Eyes’, on tour around the UK.
‘I was touched by a scene of a father who looked at his child for the last time. With sorrow I imagined myself in this situation. I want to tell the world of these intense, painful realities.’
Soliman Shaheen, 15
‘I drew this picture to honour the innocent people who defend their lands.’
Madeeha Al Majayda, 15
‘It is too painful to see children in the world without security and a safe place to live. I drew this image because it reflects our homeless childhood and to ask people around the world, “Where is our right to live safely and in peace?”’
Hadeel Qudih, 16
‘I am 17 years old. Just like the other Palestinian children, I have experienced three wars on the Gaza Strip. I have witnessed how this has torn the lives of many children apart. That was my reason for tearing this painting when I finished it.’
Hamza Shaheen, 17
‘We just need a happy life, a childhood lived in peace and families to hug. This is possible for children outside Gaza, but for us Palestinians it is impossible — tomorrow we could be orphans again.’
Helen Mo’amar, 16
‘I drew this picture to show a child who lost her right to play with her doll.’
Ayah Sha’ath, 16
‘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.’
Lama Shakshak, 15
The exhibition, Through Young Eyes, was displayed at the P21 gallery in London, from 7–22 August 2015, as part of Gaza on Gaza, a wider show of work by Palestinian artists. The exhibition continues to tour the UK. Please contact Jo Rogers on firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
To find out more about Christian Aid’s work in Gaza visit www.christianaid.org.uk