Artist Creates Clay Effigies of Gaza Victims
Gaza residents have received a ghostly reminder of this summer’s conflict with Israel courtesy of Palestinian artist Iyyad Sabbah, the AFP reports. Sabbah, who serves as a professor at the al-Aqsa University in Gaza, has spread numerous sculptures depicting men, women, and children throughout the fields of rubble left on the war’s front line.
Sabbah created the life-size statues out of fiberglass and then covered them in brown clay such that they almost blend into the landscape. Located in the Shejaiya district of Gaza city, known as a hotbed of Hamas activity, many of the sculptures have been splashed with red paint. It’s a rather in-your-face allusion to the estimated 2,200 Palestinians killed in the conflict. At least half of the dead were civilians, according to Israeli authorities. Palestinian officials claim a vast majority held no affiliation to Hamas.
“With this project I am speaking about people’s flight from their homes during the war,” Sabbah told the AFP. “I’m trying to shine a spotlight on the crimes which the Israelis committed here.”According to the artist, conceptually-oriented artworks such as his, especially those highlighting the plight of his fellow citizens, are relatively scarce in Gaza. Nonetheless, he hopes that they can intrigue and provoke thought in those that pass by.
Sabbah said that he also hopes the sculptures will help heal the psychological damage done to his fellow Gazans as much as they serve to highlight the physical and human destruction that took place. “We’re talking about a psychological crisis affecting all Gazans,” he added.
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