September 22, 2014

Graffiti History of Palestine

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When 2006’s elections split Gaza and the West Bank politically, Anas Maraqa was looking at a pictorial battle between Hamas and Fateh. Then it hit him.

“They were telling their peoples’ opinions in graffiti,” Maraqa said, puffing a cigarette. “I was like wow, this is really saying something.”

“We want to make the book from the first intifada until today,” Maraqa said, outlining a plan of following a time-line linking events to their symbols called History of Palestine Through Graffiti. “There is lots of things from words written on walls – people get shot, things happened in Palestine, outside Palestine.”

“it’s all on the walls.”

In the First Intifada, for example, freedom fighters wrote messages to stir the masses, Maraqa said, while just two years ago a Dutch company charged €30 to paint custom designs uploaded from anywhere in the world

“It used to be a way for Palestinians to tell other people to go out and fight against Israel,” Maraqa said. “”I didn’t like [the Dutch company]Sendamessage – it was stupid. People just send money. What they produced was stupid.”

Maraqa and three friends began collaborating in 2008, two years after the book’s inception. Chris and Jeff are American photographers and writers, and Khaldun is a graphic designer while Maraqa does a bit of everything. They began taking photographs of iconic images of street art throughout Palestine, in Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and in the refugee camps, and translated the Arabic declarations. They’ve met many artists during this process of connecting this art with Palestinian history.

Maraqa is a mapmaker by trade, and said he plans to geo-tag the pictures and enable the project’s website with an interactive map.

“You can see through graffiti what happened here,” Maraqa said. “Graffiti is different in Hebron than in Ramallah. In Nablus, and you can find something different in the camp or in the city because everyone writes something different.”

Maraqa is now looking for funding to produce and print the book, which he thinks will cost $10-20,000.

“The most expensive thing is the printing,” he said. “We can do the rest ourselves.”

Source: Palestine Monitor

This article represents the views of the writer and is not representative of the principles of the Embassy and the Palestinian National Authority.