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The children of Gaza who wrote poems for the book receiving their copies of ‘Moon tell me truth’ in the gardens of the Islamic university, July 2023. Photo: Hastings & District PSC

Hastings to host unique exhibition of poetry and art by children from Gaza

Hastings’ Stade Hall will be playing host to a unique exhibition over half term (9 – 15 February) of art and poetry by children from Gaza, Palestine. Katy Colley from Hastings & District Palestine Solidarity Campaign reports.

The ‘Moon Tell me Truth’ exhibition is a collection of 60 illustrated poems created by children aged nine to 15 from Gaza, Palestine for a competition run by the British educational charity The Hands Up Project, published in a book this year with a foreword by award-winning poet Alice Oswald.

Hosted by The Hands Up Project with Hastings & District Palestine Solidarity Campaign (HDPSC), the exhibition will be open daily from 11am to 5pm at Stade Hall on the seafront and is free and accessible to all.

Several creative activities will run throughout the week in the space, including workshops for kite-making, poetry, illustration and dance.

Places are free and allocated on a first come, first serve basis – for details visit the exhibition event page.

The Waiting by Malak Mattar was one of the artworks that inspired the poems on display.

Young visitors will be able to see the two original artworks which inspired the poems in the exhibition – The Waiting by Malak Mattar and Purple Beam by Layla Mohammad Ibraheem Al Haj Abed – and submit their own creations in response for a competition judged by co-creator of the BBC series Sarah & Duck, Sarah Gomes Harris.

Hands Up Project Founder Nick Bilbrough said: ‘Despite the extremely challenging conditions experienced by the young people in Gaza for the whole of their lives, they still manage to produce inspirational poetry, plays and stories in English.

‘The short poems submitted for last year’s poetry writing competition are no exception. All of us at the Hands Up Project are deeply honoured and proud that the exhibition is now in Hastings, so their unique voices may be amplified in the wider world.’

Hastings & District PSC has long held links with the wonderful Hands Up educational charity but when we read the poems in the book, we were moved by the talent and spirit of the children, not to mention their ability to express their thoughts and feelings so eloquently in English, their second language.

Obada, killed early November 2023

We are thrilled to share these stunning works with the wider community and hope lots of families will visit over half term and get involved in the many creative activities we have planned.

Tragically, most students featured in the exhibition are now displaced and their schools have been damaged or destroyed during the war on Gaza. Two students were killed by Israeli airstrikes in October 2023 – Obada Mohammad Abu Oda, 14, and Fatema Saidam, nine.

Fatema’s poem Eyes are for seeing has been translated and shared all over the world.

Moon Tell me Truth is on display at Stade Hall, Hastings, TN34 3DW from 9-15 February 11am-5pm. Free Entry.

The children of Gaza who wrote poems for the book receiving their copies of Moon tell me truth in the gardens of the Islamic university, July 2023. PHOTO: Hastings & District PSC

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Posted 08:28 Saturday, Feb 3, 2024 In: Campaigns

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