Palestinian artist: sculptures spotlight Palestinian displacement
Clay sculptures depicting the displacements of Palestinians of Gaza due to latest war- Photo courtesy of Sabbah Iyad Art Facebook page

CAIRO: A seven-member Gazan family was forced to leave its house which was destroyed in the latest war with Israeli; they found no choice except emigration.

The family members are not real, but clay sculptures depicting the situation of many Palestinian residents from the Shuja’iyya neighborhood of the Gaza Strip who fled after the 51-day war between Palestine and Israel in July and August.

“Shuja’iyya neighborhood is one of the places that was completely destroyed, and the idea came to my head to do something about the war, to focus on displacement of the Palestinians,” Palestinian artist Iyad Sabbah, a member of the Fine Artists Association in Gaza, told The Cairo Post Wednesday.

Sabbah, who was forced to leave his house in Gaza’s Sudanyya neighborhoodof Gaza, said he decided to create his exhibition of Tahalok (Decaying) to show the suffering he and other residents felt immediately after the war, adding that he had completely financed the work himself.

“The displacement scene is very influential, so the sculptures were put amid the wreckage of the destroyed houses in Shuja’iyya to show the suffering of the residents,” said Sabbah, , continued, adding that they were put also on the beach, depicting illegal immigration fleeing the war.

The figures are shown walking out of their neighborhood; a mother holds her child’s hand and the father carries his baby on his shoulder while two elderly people walk with sticks, and a girl and a another person stand beside them.

Sabbah was among those who restored the a memorial to Egyptian Unknown Soldiers in Gaza that commemorates the Egyptian soldiers who were killed during the war of 1948 in Palestine; it was destroyed by the Israeli forces during 1967; then it was re-destroyed recently, according to Sabbah.

He said he also planned to participate in the restoration of a cultural library in Gaza.

He is a member of the General Union of Artists and a lecturer at Aqsa University in Gaza. He has many works in installation, sculptures and painting that touch on politics.

During the latest war, at least 2,145 Palestinian were killed and 11,200 civilians injured, according to Palestinian Health Ministry figures. More than 16,800 homes were destroyed, said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a donor conference on Gaza Reconstruction that was held in Cairo and co-hosted by Norway on Oct. 12.

Abbas also announced that Gaza needs $4 billion in order to recover from the damage caused in the war.

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