Revolution in Gaza through the “Window”

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Shala hopes the Arab revolutions will bring the Palestinian cause back to the forefront.

By: Taghrid Atallah

Published Saturday, July 28, 2012

Gaza - Omar Shala collected more than 40 iconic revolutionary images and posters that circulated on news websites and social networking sites over the last year for his exhibit Poster and Revolution, which was hosted most recently by Windows Studio for Contemporary Art in Gaza.

Shala, a photographer and graphic designer, personalized these posters to make them about Palestine. The images in the exhibit chronicle the Palestinian cause and revolutions alongside pictures depicting the suffering of Gazans under Israeli siege, as well as Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli prisons.

In this exhibit, we see a picture of the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat with the inscription “I am the Revolution.” Another poster recreates the famous statement by the imprisoned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader, Ahmad Saadat: “With our empty stomachs we will make the prisons empty.”

Other posters are about daily life in Gaza. One depicts an old man and woman riding a cart-horse, and “Power is Back” alludes to long-term power outages in many areas in Gaza. There is another depicting a person lying in bed next to the phrase “How’s Your Health?”

Shala did not forget the revolutions and uprisings that set the Arab World ablaze. He tried to approach them in connection with the Palestinian cause. So there are posters from the Egyptian, Tunisian, Syrian and Libyan revolutions, such as “Libya Called” and “Your Army Passed Over You, Bahia” in reference to what has come to be known as the blue bra incident. There is also the famous expression “We have aged” uttered by a Tunisian man on al-Jazeera and finally, “We are the Children of Syria” next to a picture of a Syrian boy screaming.

Shala hopes the Arab revolutions will bring the Palestinian cause back to the forefront, after support for it has been restricted to empty slogans and cheers for the past decade.

Although the exhibition attracted a wide audience, Shala felt under extreme stress. The young artist was worried that his artwork might be misunderstood as an incitement for division between Hamas and Fatah and that he would become a target for both factions. He was tense the whole time as he received audiences. He even became scared when a person was taking pictures of the studio through the window. But when he went outside, he realized the photographer was none other than his father, plastic artist Majed Shala!

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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