Art can lend a touch of beauty to the most desolate of places, and can embed a message into the most unlikely of objects.
In Gaza, four university students call themselves the “Architistas” because they combine their love of the fine arts with their study of architecture. Painting is their chosen medium, along with collage. Their names: Kariman Almashharawi, Mohammed Alhayek, Reema AlShurafa and Sarah Alkhateeb,
"Art helps us in architecture, and our study of architecture influences our art,” explains Kariman, my classmate. Kariman uses painting to work herself out of a bad mood, while Sarah says she creates when she is happy.
Recently, the 21-year-old girls decided to merge their talent with their studies to bring a mood of optimism and energy to their otherwise staid university halls.
So, they held a workshop for the eight or so other students in the Architecture Department' and mobilized us to transform our drab lockers into a panoramic masterpiece. (Surprisingly, the head of the department said yes, and let us lead the way!)
We debated whether to paint Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (simply because we all love it) or a mandala, that mysterious and beautiful spiritual symbol of the universe. In the end, Van Gogh won.
If we Gazans think only of the aggression and destruction we suffer at the hands of Israelis, then Gaza will never return to its original beauty. As architects, we believe that after any war or destruction, it is our job to re-build. And we’re starting with our lockers.
Mentor: Terry Greenberg
Posted August 29, 2016