We, Too, Are Human: Sketches from Gaza

As Illuminated plans for its next phase of programming, one of the components we are working to incorporate is bringing in an Illuminated-Artist – someone who will work with our youth-fellows and inspire them to re-imagine their cities through color, storytelling, sound, or another medium of their choice. Tawfik Gebreel is an example of one such Illuminated-Artist.

By: zehra imam

RALEIGH, NC – On the eve before Eid-Ul-Fitr, I received a message from an artist in Gaza. I was surprised to hear from him, given the on-going conflict there. But, his passion and sense of urgency shone through, perhaps in spite of the situation. His name is Tawfik Gebreel, and he is a 27-year-old artist and architect who, through his artwork, hopes to display the conditions of the Palestinian people.

Amidst the current conflict, Tawfik began to transform scenes of smoke from the explosions into “faces of mankind that [can] bring hope and [depict] defiance and steadfastness in the face of aggression,” he says. He began turning scenes of destruction into creations that symbolized the beauty of life to him: a child being thrown into the air by his father, a mother embracing her new born, a defiant power-fist.

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Syrian artist Tammam Azzam notes, “Art cannot save the country. Nothing can save Syria except for the revolution. All art can do is to nourish hope for a different future.” Similarly, Tawfik aims to broadcast hope as he “resists the crimes of the occupier,” and send a humanitarian message “in a language that is universal that does not need an interpreter.” They are both able to do what we at Illuminated hope our youth will learn to do: re-imagine their conditions while acknowledging their realities.

Tawfik would like to do exhibitions of his artwork in various countries. For more information, please contact him at: tawfik_arch@hotmail.com

Title inspired by Huffington Post article.

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