‘Prints for Palestine’ founder explains powerful message behind fundraiser

Rawaa Talass, Arab News, May 23, 2021

DUBAI: Members of the artistic community have joined forces to initiate a sale of prints with all proceeds being donated to the crowdfunding platform Build Palestine and the UK-based charity Medical Aid for Palestinians.


“Prints for Palestine” was launched during Israel’s bombardment of Gaza earlier in May. The sale features prints of nine photographic works by artists who are from the region but live and work abroad.


“Palestine needs our help and care,” wrote Emirati photographer Farah Al-Qasimi in a post on Instagram. “Thanks to those of you who reached out to offer help – please remember money is not the solution, and this is one of the many ways to help.”


Al-Qasimi and her artist friends, Meriem Bennani, Alicia Mersy, Amanny Ahmad and Orian Barki, came up with the idea of hosting this online sale, where each print was sold for $200.


The works include Al Qasimi’s “Birds on Newspaper” and “Dollar Store.” Mersy’s and Ahmad’s works depict simple everyday scenes in Palestine: “I Wish Palestinians Were Free” and “Katayef in Ramallah”, respectively.


In an interview with Arab News, Palestinian-American artist Nabil Harb explained why he wished to take part in what he describes as a “quick but impactful effort.”


“There’s no better cause my art could go to,” said Harb, who studies at the Yale School of Art. “All last year we watched how print sales raised so much money for various causes like Black Lives Matter or to fundraisers for hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19. It’s a form of fundraising that makes so much sense and I’m honored to do what I can and help.”


Harb contributed two black-and-white leafy images, entitled “Grove” and “Palms #5”, both of which were taken this year. Though made in Florida, the subject matter partly symbolizes the historical significance of cultivation on Palestinian lands. For Harb, there’s a personal element in these works. “I look for traces of Palestine everywhere,” he explained. “These two images are representative of that search.”


From the Arab News website.