A Palestinian artist from Gaza turns his feelings from controversial issues into works of art

The Palestinian plastic artist, Muhammad Abu Hashish, from the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, spends long hours daily in his small workshop to create artistic models that depict the reality in his community.
Abu Hashish, 33, is trying to translate his feelings about the most controversial issues in Palestinian society, especially in the Gaza Strip, which has been controlled by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) for 14 years, into works of art in an attempt to spread awareness among the population.
The man, the father of 3 children, told Xinhua that the killings that escalated in the past years had escalated the most, and I always think about the reasons that could be behind them.
Among the events that are still present in Abu Hashish's mind is the killing of two parents at the hands of their son, while Abu Hashish indicates that such crimes will not be repeated because the Palestinian society will oppose them, but reality has proven otherwise.
And in 2019, a Palestinian young woman from the city of Bethlehem in the southern West Bank called Israa Al-Gharib, 21, was beaten and killed by three members of her family for posting a picture of her fiancé on the social networking site (Facebook) one day before her wedding.
At the time, the crime sparked a wave of anger among the Palestinians, especially the women who went out in mass demonstrations that included several cities in the West Bank to demand the governmental authority to protect women from violence.
However, not much was done, which prompted Abu Hashish to come up with some scientific studies related to the murders and the causes of their occurrence, based on human psychology and sociology.
He says that the issue of “family disintegration is one of the most dangerous phenomena that threatens the basic core” of Palestinian society, pointing out that there are many societal and psychological restrictions that push perpetrators to commit their crimes.
Abu Hashish's conclusions prompted him to turn his feelings and beliefs into works of art that he displays to visitors in local and Arab exhibitions, where he produced sculpted and composite drawings made of cardboard, cork and other materials.
To deliver his message, an exhibition he held in Gaza City last October was launched. At that time, the artworks raised questions about his use of the lock, in reference to “murder crimes that shook Arab societies in general, not only Palestinians.”
Among the most famous works of art displayed is a model of two locks intertwined with each other. One of them displayed a headline in a newspaper stating that “a woman was killed by her husband” and the other had a title that said “the young man kills his father.”
Abu Hashish says that artworks carry "coded interpretations, and no one can give an accurate interpretation of the meaning of locks except for artists and people with a subtle sense."
He continues, "The locks are always closed in their terms as a strong block that has symbolic in our lives of ignorance and fanaticism. As for the two locks, a knot appears that must be opened, and this requires the Palestinians to think about how to solve this knot that we have the key to."
In 2013, Abu Hashish won the first Gaza Festival of Fine Arts in the field of sculpture, and participated in Arab exhibitions in Jordan and the UAE.
According to a report issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, since the beginning of this year, the Palestinian territories have recorded about 45 murder cases, which is a noticeable increase compared to last year, when 24 cases were recorded.
Abu Hashish called for the necessity of each person bearing his “moral responsibilities towards himself, his family and his community, whether artists, professors or students, given that members of society are not numbers, but rather people who live in this universe and need to live in safety.” /ts/


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