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Artist Takes Inspiration, Materials From Gaza Border Protests


Palestinian artist Majdi Abu Taqeya works on small figures he carves from remains of Israeli ammunition collected from the scenes of border protests along the Israel-Gaza border, in the central Gaza Strip March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Artist Takes Inspiration, Materials From Gaza Border Protests
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Weekly clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers have once again become part of daily life over the past year in Gaza. A local artist has found inspiration and even raw materials as a result of the violence.

Majdi Abu Taqeya is an artist who creates dioramas, small models of real places and happenings.

Abu Taqeya, a 38-year-old retired naval policeman, spends hours creating models of the protests. He carves figures from pieces of ammunition collected in the area. He uses wool and cotton to create the look of the smoke that floats over the protest camps.

A bullet gave him the idea to make dioramas, Abu Taqeya said. At the first day of the protests, which began on March 30, 2018, Abu Taqeya's brother was shot in the leg. Doctors took out the bullet and he then brought it home.

"I turned it into a small statue of a soldier and I gave it to him," he told the news agency Reuters.

Small figures created by Palestinian artist Majdi Abu Taqeya using remains of Israeli ammunition collected from the scenes of border protests along the Israel-Gaza border are seen in the central Gaza Strip March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Small figures created by Palestinian artist Majdi Abu Taqeya using remains of Israeli ammunition collected from the scenes of border protests along the Israel-Gaza border are seen in the central Gaza Strip March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

“It was then when I got the idea to start recycling the remnants of the occupation,” said Abu Taqeya.

He lives in the Nusseirat refugee camp. His neighbors who have been shot have given him their bullets.

"This bullet was taken from a girl's body, I turned it into a bullet with a butterfly on the top," said Abu Taqeya.

Last Thursday, protest organizers called for demonstrations on March 30 to mark the one year anniversary of the renewed clashes. Abu Taqeya urged demonstrators to stay away from the fence.

Gazan health authorities said Israeli soldiers have killed about 200 people since the protests began a year ago.

The protestors are demanding the right to return to land currently controlled by Israel. Protestors say their ancestors fled or were expelled during fighting over Israel’s founding in 1948.

Israel says militants infiltrate the protests. It says it uses deadly force against militants trying to destroy the border fence.

A Palestinian gunman recently killed an Israeli soldier in the area.

Recent UN statements have criticized Israel's security forces’ actions during the protests, as well as those of Hamas, the group that governs Gaza.

Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005. It keeps strong control over the territory's borders.

I'm John Russell.

Nidal al-Mughrabi reported on this story for the Reuters news agency. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

carve – v. to make (something, such as a sculpture or design) by cutting off pieces of the material it is made of

wool – n. the soft, thick hair of sheep and some other animals

remnant – n. the part of something that is left when the other parts are gone— usually plural — often + of

infiltratev. to secretly enter or join (something, such as a group or an organization) in order to get information or do harm

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