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Gaza man uses remains of Israeli shells to produce works of art
Published Sunday 09/03/2014 (updated) 27/03/2014 10:15
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GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A young man from the Gaza Strip is producing handmade art using the remains of spent Israeli ordnance, in the process seeking to disprove popular misconceptions about Palestinians.

Muhammad al-Zumar searches the ruins of Gaza buildings that have been destroyed during Israeli military offensives, collecting the remains of missiles and other spent ammunition to use as raw material for handicrafts which he has assembled into an exhibition in his home.

"The idea of turning shells and missiles into works of art first crossed my mind when I saw Israeli children writing messages of death on missiles and shells" that were used "to kill innocent children," al-Zumar told Ma'an, referring to a series of images depicting Israeli children drawing on missiles in 2006 that caused worldwide outrage.

He only started his project after the Israeli military assault on Gaza in 2008-9, when around 1,400 Palestinians were killed and thousands more injured over the course of a three-week-long bombardment.

"After the war I started to collect shrapnel from shells and bombs, writing phrases on them calling for peace and love," al-Zumar explained.

In order to ensure that the materials he collects do not pose any danger, al-Zumar has been regularly consulting munitions experts from the Gaza government, who have also helped provide him with more objects to use in his work.

Al-Zumar highlighted that he has so far produced 30 works of art using the remains of explosives.

Asked about costs of his work, he said all he needed was the remains of explosives, which he receives for free, in addition to paints, which he buys.

Like 40 percent of Gazans, al-Zumar is unemployed and as a result he often has difficulties buying the paints he needs for his art.

Despite this, al-Zumar perseveres in his work.

Al-Zumar told Ma'an that he hopes that his simple home exhibition will one day attract international solidarity activists who visit Gaza, helping them "see the human side of the Gaza population."
1 ) Mel / USA
09/03/2014 17:26
Don't make art out of DEATH/MURDER!Show it for what it is,PAIN,SUFFERING,LOSS,OPPRESSION,DARK,ONGOING!You need to show it as it is,in the raw,after it's slaughtered humans & bombed homes into craters! Pile it up,so ALL can see.Surround it with the photos of the dead,death/destruction dropped on Palestine.Nazi holocaust museums don't sugar-coat truth.Display your own Arab history of Zionism's holocaust on Palestine.Real art is raw facts that bear witness to TRUTH that Zionism=death.Not peace&love

2 ) Mel / USA
09/03/2014 17:34
Cont:Mr.al Zumar is a human being,still enduring the bombs,drones,sonic bombs,snipers,F-16's,Helo's,bunker busters,missiles,&collective punishment on Gaza ghetto! Israel's 'art' is still falling on Gaza at Zionism's whim!Show the world the RAW DISPROPORTIONATE weight of US-made/bought precision weps that Israel attacks Gaza POW camp with.When the Zionist occupation/collective punishment is over,THEN memorialize it as art!

3 ) Amarantha Tamarix / Italy
10/03/2014 00:05
I saw this on another site, and was very impressed by the ingenuity and creativity shown by Muhammad al-Zumar in producing these works. They truly depict what the artist intended. It would be nice if they could be displayed somewhere for posterity, be photographed or taken on tour so that other people could be made aware of their message of hope.

4 ) Angela Waldegg / Austria
10/03/2014 19:25
Alienation of such items is a creative step and IS ART. One can still see what it is (was) and from where it comes. Muhammad al-Zumar's art has a strong message, his message, Gaza's message. I hope it can be shown outside of Gaza. I want to encourage Muhammad and I hope in the future he can change using other material.

5 ) shemesh / Israel
13/03/2014 12:09
My heart is broken to see this bomb's shell and their represntion of their initional perpouse. You all must anderstand that the coin has tow sides and children get heart in both sides. The violant must stop! And we need to lawer the level of hate. Yesterday we had alert cause bombs were trowing at us from the gaza strip. Its a lose lose sitouation for the pepole. The leader's wont stop it.to Al-Zumar I say wish i could arrive to see your exabition espacislly when i leave 10 min from u...

6 ) marijke / holland
18/03/2014 17:37
1. He makes something hideous into something very, very moving. In life it is better to move forward and try to make dark things light. You se how it affected shemesh? 5. Thank you for your beautiful words. Try and find out why the bombs were thrown. There is desperation on both sides. The human reality of the occupation, try to find it out. And....go and visit the people 10 min from you..you may be surprised...

7 ) Rami / Palestine
02/04/2014 15:54
#1 An artist "is a political being, constantly aware of the heartbreaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. How could it be possible to feel no interest in other people & with a cool indifference to to detach yourself from the very life which they bring to you so abundantly? No, painting isn’t done to decorate apartments. It’s an instrument of war." - Pablo Picasso

8 ) Luiz / Brazil
09/05/2014 21:37
I agree with Angela Waldegg. The artist can dislocate the meaning of objects, from the original one into a creative one. Therefore, the artist can use an object that means oppression and turn it into a political mesage of hope. Very good! I encourage Al-Zummar, too.
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