by Osama Radi, Saud Abu Ramadan
GAZA, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- A young Palestinian photographer attracted dozens of children at one of the Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza when he decorated the walls of their homes with beautiful photos he took during the past few years to bring them cheerfulness and bliss.
Izz Zanoon, a 24-year-old photo-journalist from Gaza, hanged his photos on plates at the narrow alleys and side streets of al-Shatti refugee camp in western Gaza City, one of the poorest refugee camps in the coastal enclave that has been under Israeli blockade since 2007.
Children and adults came from all over and gathered to look at Zanoon's photos, which decorated the gloomy gray walls of the refugees' homes in the poor and densely populated refugee camp.
"My initiative came in a bid to bring joy and happiness to children who suffer a lot through their hard daily life," Zanoon told Xinhua as he explained to the kids when he took those photos and what does it mean to show it for them.
He added that he wants "to contribute to inculcate the culture of art in the Palestinian society and develop the love of a beautiful life in the hearts of our children." Around 50 different photos were hanged on Zanoon's plates; all related to beauty of nature and love.
Zanoon said he really wanted to show a different stereotype and a different face of life in Gaza that the world public opinion got in their minds about Gaza that is full of poverty and violence due to the Israeli blockade and the endless rounds of violence between Israel and the Palestinians.
Since 2008, Israel waged three large-scale military air and ground offensives and the largest one was for 50 days in the summer of 2014.
The photographer said he wanted through his exhibition "to amend the spirits of the people who were targeted during the Israeli wars on the Gaza Strip."
One of the most beautiful photos was a bride wearing her white dress and walking at one of the alleys of the refugee camp as her groom came to meet her. Side streets and alleys of Shatti refugee camp are not wider than one meter and it is hard for two people to walk together.
Other photos include the one of three children swimming and playing on the beach of Gaza at the time of sunset and two teenagers on a fishing boat in the middle of the very blue and beautiful sea.
Abu Mohamed Kaskin, one of the refugees who live in Shatti, expressed happiness and joy because many pictures were hanged on the wall of his home.
"The exhibition has really shown the beautiful face that we haven't seen for so many years," said Kaskin, adding "this is a very beautiful initiative that brought happiness to our hearts and the hearts of our children. We really love life and we really want to live in peace and stability."
Noura, a 12-year-old girl from Shatti, stood in her room and looked at Zanoon's photos from the window. She said she is very happy that the street has become ornamented and beautiful. Her neighbor Majoud, 13, has also expressed happiness to see the walls decorated with nice photos.
The photos were hanged on laundry ropes in the narrow alleys of Shatti refugee camps; a scene that provided beauty to the walls.
The refugee camp is one of eight densely populated camps all over the Gaza Strip with 1.9 million people. In the Gaza Strip, refugees represent 70 percent of the population.
At the end of the exhibition, most of the children had the opportunity to carry Zanoon's camera and take some pictures. Zanoon had also gave them some lessons on how to use a camera and take beautiful pictures.
Zanoon's initiative was coordinated with a youth cultural center called Tamer Institute for Community Education. Zanoon's initiative was called "Art is not for sale."
Dalia Abdul Rahman, coordinator of Tamer Institute for Community Education, told Xinhua that the aim of the idea was to spread the culture of art among the populations, mainly children and those who are abandoned and live in devastated areas.
"The message of our project is that there are so many beautiful things around us and we should look for it in order to feed our eyes with beauty," she said.