22 February 2024

Check out this Shellharbour artist's creative, educational aid idea - 'Painting Palestine'

| Zoe Cartwright
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Shellharbour artist Dina Ali with some of her recent artworks.

Shellharbour artist Dina Ali with some of her recent artworks. Photo: Dina Ali.

Overwhelmed by the devastation in Gaza, Shellharbour artist Dina Ali resolved to do something about it.

The idea for ‘Painting Palestine’, an all-ages art and craft workshop and fundraiser, was born.

Facilitated by Wollongong Friends of Palestine, participants at the workshop on Saturday will paint and learn about Palestinian symbols of resilience, heritage and hope.

“So many of us are struggling watching this bloodbath on TV or our social media feeds,” she said.

“It’s really hard for me not to feel outraged that this is happening and international leaders are not doing anything about it.

“This is a way for us to show solidarity.”

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Dina grew up in Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza.

She said the things she saw when she was at university in Cairo inspired her to educate herself about the conflict.

A mum herself, Dina realised that for many children and young people in Australia Israel’s current war in Gaza might be their first exposure to the Palestinian crisis.

“This has been going on since before 7 October, and there are a lot of symbols children might see on social media or TV, and they want to understand what they represent,” Dina said.

“Since the beginning of the war I’ve been drawing a lot of Palestinian symbols and making designs out of them, and I think this is something I can do to help based on my skills and experience.”

Dina hopes Painting Palestine will help bring together people who are feeling isolated and overwhelmed by what’s happening.

“We’ve been feeling helpless since the start,” she said.

“I try to do what I can – if I have money to donate I do that; I write to MPs and attend protests, but I thought this is something I can do to inspire and educate others.

“This is man-made destruction and man-made starvation. If you put yourself in other’s shoes, how can you rest when you can see in the news how people are suffering?

“Everyone, everywhere needs to feel safe and be free and have the right to go back to their homeland.”

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Tickets for the event cost between $10 and $25 – organisers have kept the costs low to make the event accessible for anyone who is interested. All materials at Painting Palestine will be provided.

The event will be held this Saturday 24 February, from 3 to 5 pm at the Wollongong Library on Burelli Street.

Tickets can be purchased at: Painting Palestine | Humanitix

More than 15 per cent of children in the north of Gaza are suffering malnutrition as Israel continues to block aid.

In recognition of the dire situation for children in Gaza, 100 per cent of ticket sales will be donated to the Gaza Children’s Fund.

Additional donations are welcome and will also go to the Gaza Children’s Fund.

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