Children of Gaza speak out through art at Leamington church

THE trauma of living in a conflict zone is expressed through children’s artwork on display at a Leamington church.

Loss of Innocence - Children’s Art from Gaza, which opened at St Peter’s church last Thursday, illustrates the impact of the airstrikes on Gaza launched by Israel in 2008-9 and reveals the hopes and fears of the children who lived through that period.

Around 50 pictures drawn, painted or crayoned by children in Gaza are included - some of which were created immediately after - as well as during - the conflict over the 2008-9 new year.

Some pictures were drawn a little later - either as part of a programme run by Psycho-Social Help for the Traumatised Children, or by children who were specifically asked to set out their feelings for the benefit of Westerners’ understanding.

The pictures first show how children saw life in a peaceful Gaza, before the airstrikes, and then, panel by panel, illustrate how the events unfolded, the deaths, trauma and aftermath, culminating in expressions of Resistance and hopes for the future.

Some young children’s pictures depict activities such as playing, picnicking in the shade of the trees and picking oranges.

In a picture showing children playing, the Arabic inscription reads: ‘It’s our right to play, like other children in the world’.

The free exhibition is open every day until Sunday December 2. On the last day, visitors can hear the experiences of a teacher who recently spent time at a Palistinian refugee camp at a free closing event at the neighbouring Dormer Conference Centre at 12.15pm.

Refreshments and Palistinian products will be available.

The event is being promoted by Justice for Palestinians, a Leamington-based activist group.

To find out more, go online.

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