As the number of dead and wounded Palestinians climbs from the Great March of Return in Gaza, protests resume. Still, Palestinian artists have been able to transform the horrors of war and occupation into messages of non-violent resistance and the struggle for liberation. The use of art in war is a well-documented phenomenon; it can be used as a propaganda tool, as a mechanism of resistance, and as a therapeutic outlet. Throughout history, Palestinians have used various artistic methods to creatively express their political grievances against the Israeli occupation. Stories of tragedy and exile have also been a central theme touched on by artists in the Palestinian diaspora.
In a timely piece for Middle East Eye, Hind Khoudary highlights Gazan artist, Majdi Abu Taqqeyeh, who has been creating art from war debris and memorabilia since 1991. Now, as violence is flaring up again along the Gazan-Israeli border, Abu Taqqeyeh collects bullets and weapons and transforms them into miniature art installations. Creating beauty out of chaos through his art, Abu Taqqyeh hopes that he will be able to convey the Palestinian plight to the world:
His art, however, comes with some occupational hazards. Abu Taqqeyeh sustained an injury after a bullet he had collected on the second Friday of the Great Return March protests exploded in his hand as he was heating it, wounding his fingers. Abu Taqeyyeh takes precautions to make sure the bullet casings are empty before working on them, but sometimes remnants of the bullets remain inside.
”It can cost me my life when I collect these bullets near the fence,” he says, referring to the risky journeys he makes so that he can collect the battle remains near the borders.“Whoever goes near the border fence is targeted,” he explains.
Still, he believes that “a person who has a message to the world has to sacrifice his life to spread his message”.
One of his art pieces is a sculptured bullet, with a pigeon escaping from it, to convey Palestinians longing for peace.