An exhibition of 21 black and white photos and colour prints, called “The Children of Gaza,” which shows the aftermath of the December 2008 Israeli incursion in Palestinian territory, opened yesterday at the gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University–Qatar (VCUQ).
Photos taken in 2010 by Giuseppe Aquili, Anthony Dawton and Jim McFarlane, from Italy, Britain and Australia respectively, alongside colour montages inspired by the photographs created by Iraqi artist Dia Azzawi, will be on display at VCUQ until December 3, before continuing on a tour to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Germany and finally finishing in London.
The photos are on sale, with all proceeds going to the Save the Children fund which helps children with trauma, to rebuild schools and in helping children with disabilities and severe difficulties in Gaza.
Dawton hopes that collection will raise around QR 580,000 at the VCUQ exhibition as well as at Azzawi’s exhibition at the art gallery at Katara Cultural Village on November 28.
At the official opening of The Children of Gaza exhibition, Dawton explained that the photos “are not the work of brave photo journalists who have arrived on the first and most dangerous days of a war or incursion, telling of the immediate truth and tragedy. They are images of three photographers from different parts of the world with very little assumptions and very little idea of what to expect when they arrived long after the action was over. What we saw, and what we heard, were the effects and the changes that this and other incursions...have brought about.
“For photographers, we did a lot of listening, in cafe bars, in the back of taxis, on the streets and in houses. Our overwhelming experience was of the people of Gaza’s need to talk, to be heard - even having their photograph taken was another way of being heard, of getting their message over. And it was rarely talk of politics, of missiles, of Israel, but it was of redemption, and forgiveness, with those like the grandfather outside his stratum bombed house– roof now at head level, his children and grandchildren crushed inside, who have lost most, who talk most about forgiveness.”
Dawton said that despite the geopolitics, Palestinians “at the very least want to be heard...it must be an awful torture living in a trapped country, to feel that through the concrete walls that surround you, no one is listening”.
“How would they know if anyone cared? As photographers we have never been more fulfilled in our professional lives than when we were in Gaza taking these pictures.”
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