Following last month’s decision by the Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) in Oakland, California, to shut down an art exhibition of drawings by Palestinian children in Gaza, one of the child artists included in the exhibit has illustrated his response to being censored.
The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) has posted this new drawing by 12-year-old Ali Hassan al Baba of Deir el Balah in the Gaza Strip, as well as a short interview with him:
Translated from Arabic in Ali’s picture: “The Exhibit is Closed” written across top. “It’s my right to draw” in child’s speech bubble.
What is your name? Ali Hassan Al-Baba
How old are you? 12 years old
Where do you live? Deir El-Balah, Gaza
How many siblings do you have? Four sisters and three brothers
Please tell us about your drawing:
I’ve drawn the gallery featuring Palestinian children’s artwork. The art shows the bad things that Zionists do to Palestinians, but then the Zionists came and shut it down.
Please tell us about your family:
I am the oldest child of a simple family. My father works and is our only source of financial support. Our home was hit by an air strike but it is now patched up with metallic plates (zingo). It is a small house and the number of my family is big, but I thank God for everything we have.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be an engineer so I can rebuild every house that Israel has destroyed.
Even though the original exhibition was shut down — following sustained intimidation from local and national pro-Israel lobby groups — Ali’s artwork, and the artwork of the other children, has found a new home in a gallery space around the corner from MOCHA in downtown Oakland. The exhibit will be open until the end of November, and MECA has all the information on its website.