Art Project Shows Not All Hope Is Lost In Times Of War And Despair

When words fail, art speaks.

As of August 26, the Israel-Gaza conflict has reached a long-term ceasefire. The agreement puts and end to 50 days of fighting which, according to UN"s estimates, have killed 2,101 Palestinians and 67 Israelis.

The conflict has been estimated that the reconstruction of Gaza will take 20 years and could cost more than $6 billion. Throughout the chaos, an ongoing arts initiative Mir Yam was started by a group of Palestinian artists.

Mir Yam/Facebook

Mir Yam aims to draw people"s attention to the atrocities of war and its irreversible aftermath. By imposing fairy tale-like illustrations into shots of everyday life in Gaza, it creates a jarring contrast between life and death, dream, and reality. As one of the project members Haneen Nazzal told A+, there was a point when the horrific images of violence in Gaza became a norm to the rest of the world – it was their goal to remind them:

"People got used to it and they no longer moved them. Mir Yam takes the world beyond the image of death. It shows the world how much the Palestinians are willing to live despite the death surrounding them," said Nazzal.

Mir Yam/Facebook

Mir Yam Palestinians Teach Life was inspired by a poem written by Refeef Ziadah, Palestinian-Canadian human rights activist. The poem argues with the notion that Palestinians teach their children hatred. Ziadah states Palestinians teach life, by simply waking up every morning and dealing with their mundane brutality.

The first part of the collection was titled Eid in Gaza, Eid al-Fitr being a sacred Muslim 3-day holiday when people celebrate the end of Ramaddan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. According to the source, the war in Gaza didn't stop during these days so the set of images is meant to pay tribute to the victims:

"On the first day of Eid, Palestinian kids celebrating and playing joyfully outside were killed. War didn't spare them. Mir Yam, however, drew the image of happiness that was made impossible by Israel's killing machine."

Mir Yam/Facebook

When asked to describe the current situation in Gaza, Nazzal told A+ that Gaza is hurting and it will take time to recover. According to her, thousands of families have lost at least one member or have at least one injured. The war has also severely damaged the social infrastructure as schools and universities were often targets of the attack.

Mir Yam project shines light on the destruction and devastation in Gaza, but the altered images bring a tip of faith into the harsh reality of Gaza's residents:

Mir Yam/Facebook Mir Yam/Facebook Mir Yam/Facebook Mir Yam/Facebook Mir Yam/Facebook Mir Yam/Facebook Mir Yam/Facebook

View more of Mir Yam's work here.

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