Hastings artists unite to raise funds for community in Gaza

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Artists across Hastings have come together to create a unique collection of works to raise funds for the community of Al Mawasi in Gaza.

The Art Raffle for Al Mawasi is a collaboration between Stella Dore Gallery in St Leonards, Hastings Art School, Hastings & District Palestine Solidarity Campaign(HDPSC) and Hastings Friends of Al Mawasi.

The collection of over 20 original works can be viewed online and will be on display to the public at the White Rock Hotel in a free exhibition on Friday 19 July.

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Raffle tickets can be bought online for £5 each and winners will be able to select their favourite piece when the raffle is drawn on 27 July.

'T'This is Bisan from Gaza and I am still alive.' by Yasmin Aishah'T'This is Bisan from Gaza and I am still alive.' by Yasmin Aishah
'T'This is Bisan from Gaza and I am still alive.' by Yasmin Aishah

Steph Warren, owner of Stella Dore Gallery, said that all the artists she works with have been affected by watching the last nine months of genocide unfold in Gaza where the official death toll stands at over 38,000, mostly women and children.

However, this week it was revealed in the British medical journal The Lancet that the likely death toll, including from disease, starvation and those still buried under the rubble, is likely to be over 186,000, representing 8% of the population.

‘Gaza is the biggest injustice of our age,’ said Steph. ‘We all want to do our bit to help alleviate the suffering there. Every artist I spoke to about this wanted to give a piece to the collection, to try to make a difference.’

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Julia Kotziamani from Hastings Art School also found huge support for the fundraiser amongst local artists.

Peace by Tim SandersPeace by Tim Sanders
Peace by Tim Sanders

She said: ’I don’t think you can have seen what is happening in Palestine without feeling called to do anything you can to help. Lots of our artists have been deeply moved by the unfolding tragedy and wanted to donate work to support Hastings Friends of Al Mawasi. This feels like one of those moments in history when we need to be able look our grandchildren in the eye and tell them that we did all we could to help.”

The collection includes donations from artists of varying styles and mediums with contributions from Shuby, Giles Duly, Sue Lawes, Mawjood, Dorcas Magbadelo, Tim Sanders, Mew, Laure, Marta Munoz, Hollie Newman, Harriet Macaree and many more.

One stunning work in pencil and ink is a portrait of Palestinian journalist Bisan Owda, famous worldwide for her honest and courageous reports from Gaza, in the face of overwhelming atrocities and suffering.

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The work by Yasmin Aishah is titled after the phrase Bisan uses at the start of every report: ‘This is Bisan from Gaza and I am still alive.’

Children queue for food - photo from Al Mawasi of the work they are doing to feed the displaced.Children queue for food - photo from Al Mawasi of the work they are doing to feed the displaced.
Children queue for food - photo from Al Mawasi of the work they are doing to feed the displaced.

Katy Colley, Chair of HDSPC, said: ‘This is a beautiful and varied collection with many references to Palestine and peace and we’re so proud to have partnered with the artistic community to put on this amazing fundraiser.

‘I think everyone will find a piece that resonates with them. You can view the collection and buy tickets online but it will be even better to see the works up close at the free exhibition.

‘It’s impossible to buy a single artwork for five pounds so the chance to win one of these amazing pieces at such a bargain price is a unique opportunity.’

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The Art Raffle will raise funds for the resilience committee in the coastal enclave of Al Mawasi, currently helping to distribute food and aid to the displaced peoples now sheltering there.

The resilience committee has long-established links with Hastings Friends of Al Mawasi but the numbers in the small fishing village have swollen in recent months and the committee is helping to take care of thousands who fled there seeking safety.

Weekly messages from Al Mawasi describe a desperate struggle to find enough food and clean water, as well as the unimaginable destruction and suffering of the people.

‘Nowhere is safe in Gaza. Al Mawasi was designated a ‘safe zone’ and yet there have been numerous bombing and sniper attacks there,’ said Grace Lally of Hastings Friends of Al Mawasi. ‘Recently, with so little aid getting through, prices have skyrocketed so the meagre food that does exist is too costly for most people to afford. Every penny we send there makes a difference.

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‘Our friends have lost their homes, their relatives, their sense of security and their futures. They have suffered beyond human endurance and yet, we are constantly amazed by their strength and compassion for one another. It is beyond cruel that this genocide has been going for nine months already with no end in sight.’

To view the collection and buy tickets click here

For information on the exhibition see Facebook event page

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