Brighton, United Kingdom (TFC) – An artist in the United Kingdom has been creating portraits of those killed in Gaza. She painted the first portrait as a release after hearing about one of the deaths. The plan is to exhibit the portraits in Gaza and then present them to the families of the deceased. She wants to use local Palestinian labor to frame the portraits. The problem is that she hasn’t been able to contact all of the families.
Kerry Beall, the artist behind the project, has a short message for The Fifth Column’s readers:
“I’ve painted many portraits now, and I’m in the process of trying to find their family members so I can give them the portraits. If anybody can help with this I would be so very grateful “
There’s a crowdfunding effort underway, but Kerry isn’t waiting for us to help her come up with the cash. She’s already painted more than ninety of the portraits, and has started building her own contacts in Gaza to help identify the families and to facilitate her trip to the walled off territory. Kerry has pointed out that her project is not political in nature and she has not publicly weighed into the Israeli-Palestinian quagmire. She appears to be simply acting on an impulse that everyone on both sides of the fight can agree on: children and civilians shouldn’t be dying.
“It all started when I read the story of Sahir Abu Namous. I came across it on Twitter, one of his relatives was explaining how he had died. He was only four. It wasn’t another depersonalised report, it was a family member’s plea of desperation and hopelessness. It hit me like a ton of bricks. It was so raw.
I think I’m probably not alone when I say I felt completely helpless. It’s just so devastating, the sheer amount of innocent men, women and children’s lives just evaporating. It’s a tough and overwhelming thing to think about and I often, perhaps like others, disconnect from it it so I can function in my own life.
But that day, it struck a chord that I couldn’t switch off from.
I felt compelled to do something, so I painted him. I had no idea what the response would be as it’s such a sensitive topic.
I showed the portrait to his family and they loved it. It reinforced that urge to take action, so I’ve gone on to paint many more lives that have been lost.
I know the paintings won’t bring the lives back or change the course of events, but hopefully it will communicate love and hope between people.
I think it’s important to say there’s no bias in this project, I haven’t got a political agenda. It was as simple as, seeing an innocent life that was taken. In that moment I had an overwhelming sense of perspective.“
Below are the portraits, names, and ages of six people whose families Kerry would like to reach. We need you to share the article wide and far, you could very well put the family in touch with the artist and help unite families that were devastated by war. We all know the power of social media, perhaps we can use it to help this project reach a successful completion. If you know any of the family members of the people below, please contact #BeyondWordsGaza. If you don’t use Facebook, feel free to send the message to The Fifth Column. We have an Arabic translator if necessary. (لدينا مترجم)