Hello...so here's the dream!
Thanks so much for taking the time to check out this art project.
#BeyondWordsGaza is an art project I'm working on. I've been painting lives that were lost in Palestine last summer, I want to have all the portraits framed by a local carpenter in Palestine. Then I'd like to exhibit them in Gaza where family members can come and collect the portraits of their loved ones.
It all started when I read the story of Sahir Abu Namous. I came across it on Twitter, one of his relatives was explaining how he had died. He was only four. It wasn't another depersonalised report, it was a family member's plea of desperation and hopelessness. It hit me like a ton of bricks. It was so raw.
I think I'm probably not alone when I say I felt completely helpless. It's just so devastating, the sheer amount of innocent men, women and children's lives just evaporating. It's a tough and overwhelming thing to think about and I often, perhaps like others, disconnect from it it so I can function in my own life.
But that day, it struck a chord that I couldn't switch off from.
I felt compelled to do something, so I painted him. I had no idea what the response would be as it's such a sensitive topic.
I showed the portrait to his family and they loved it. It reinforced that urge to take action, so I've gone on to paint many more lives that have been lost.
I know the paintings won't bring the lives back or change the course of events, but hopefully it will communicate love and hope between people.
I think it's important to say there's no bias in this project, I haven't got a political agenda. It was as simple as, seeing an innocent life that was taken. In that moment I had an overwhelming sense of perspective.
It just feels so important to somehow show they were all real people not just numbers on a news report. I know that awful things are happening everywhere all the time, but I've focused my attention here in the hopes of making some kind of impact, however small, to let people know that other people do actually care, that their lives are precious, and won't be so easily lost and forgotten.
By gifting the paintings we connect the world a little more, shed some light, share some compassion, remember the lost. If my paintings capture some energy, some emotion, then a little of their story is held in the world.
This is a challenging project and I haven't attempted anything like this before, but it really feels right and I am moved to do it.
Plan of action!
I intend to exhibit the paintings in Gaza towards the end of this year, where the family members can collect the portraits. Everyone who contributes will have their name written on a hand painted list, as you're all an integral part in the success of this project. This list of supporters may feel as meaningful and resonate as much as the portraits themselves.
Your money will pay for materials, the portraits to be framed, help with getting them to Gaza, and providing an exhibition space to show them until they are collected or delivered.
I've painted 95 portraits so far, I've planned 120 in total as I've found pictures of these people online. There are obviously many more lives that have been lost without having photographs published, but hopefully this will be a project that can expand and grow, and I can paint more on request.
I'd also like to keep you all in the loop with the progress of the project, I'll frequently use facebook and twitter to share what is happening, but if you want to give me your email address, I can keep you updated in more detail on how it's moving forward :)
I've been really fortunate so far in having lovely people wanting to help me out with the project.
Dan, a friend who is based in Dubai and works within the world of digital marketing. He was keen to get involved in helping with the project move forward and spread the word. He has injected a burst of enthusiasm into it and has helped shape #BeyondWordsGaza .
Also, I want to thank Robin and Simon who don't know me at all, and yet gave up their free time to produce this video. I couldn't have done it with out them, and it's all steps in the right direction to realising this dream.
Having the support of others is so meaningful in this project, The best success comes from teamwork and shared energy.
Risks and challenges
I do realise, getting into Gaza may be a tad tricky.
However, I've got some good contacts building up and even though I would like to be there, If for some reason that proves difficult, I know the portraits can get there, the good news is that's apparently the easy part, as is, tracking the family members. Both those things are the main and crucial part of the project...so that's good news!
I have been advised to partner with a neutral organisation to help with the logistics of the project, more information as I have it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (59 days)